Restrictions favour the retail giants


Sir, – Following the Government announcement of moving to Level 5, I felt saddened for all the hard-working retailers, who are again being forced to close their doors.

I understand that these decisions were not made lightly, and are being made to protect the safety of our communities.

However, I also believe that there is a disproportionate impact of restrictions on small local businesses.

Why is it that some so-called “non-essential” businesses must close, and yet these “non-essential” products can be sold within stores permitted to sell “essential” goods. For example, shoe shops must close, yet supermarkets are allowed to sell shoes. Supermarkets can sell “non-essential” compost and gardening utensils, while garden centres are not allowed to open. The same will be true for Christmas decorations and toys.

It seems that supermarkets are being handed a competitive advantage in terms of being permitted to sell “non-essential” items, while their smaller competitors struggle.

A level playing field would require that supermarkets cannot sell non-essential items until all “non-essential” retailers reopen.

I would hope that more equality in the retail sector can be considered by Government and implemented to support our small local businesses, which are essential to the fabric of our communities.

Our small businesses often have high rents, high rates, and employ more people relative to their turnover than larger businesses.

These are the companies that have, often over generations, supported the communities around them, and which now, more than ever, need our support. – Yours, etc,