The latest Covid-19 lockdown has been a major blow for local businesses right across the county.
When it comes to such restrictions, our famed local shops, owned by family, friends and neighbours, have experience in adapting to the stringent public health measures. Many will be better able to cope and deal with this lockdown - whether that is through click and collect for their customers, appointment only or perspex screens. There are a myriad of ways that shops are operating in accordance and within the public health guidelines.
Walking through any town in Kilkenny this week, things will certainly feel quieter, but that doesn’t mean businesses aren’t operating in innovative and new ways. There is trade bubbling underneath Lockdown 2.0. This one feels different, it feels like businesses are better able to cope and hopefully survive. That’s what’s most important, that we help these premises to survive so our community can continue thriving when this nightmare is over.
But it is important that when we spend, we don’t spend online with big multinational companies. Of course, there are businesses which are more profoundly impacted by the measures to combat the virus. Pubs, restaurants have had to close but many have put in place a means of operating on some level through takeaways or mobile “pint van” deliveries. Hair salons have closed, but they may still have online sales of hair products that include Christmas sets of shampoos, conditioners and other hair treatments.
Gyms may not be operating but you can still become a member, many are offering their equipment for people to use at homes and almost all are providing online classes.
There is no excuse for not putting every penny of your curtailed Christmas shopping expenditure into a Kilkenny business. And the person receiving the gift will appreciate it all the more that it comes from home.
There may not be footfall on the floors of premises, but you can still support the brave people soldiering on behind the scenes or out front of house. And that is the abiding message, a little goes a long way with local businesses.
On www.kilkennypeople.ie a Five@Five initiative gets under way today where five businesses which are still operating are flagged on the website and the information is shared out on social media for people to be made aware of their services.
Within a few weeks, there will be hundreds of businesses highlighted and people here need to make sure they support those enterprises. Profit before tax for foreign online retailers have skyrocketed recently as a result of strong demand through the pandemic. You can be sure that a certain amount of that revenue came from this Emerald Isle. Imagine what even a fraction of that expenditure would do for local businesses.
If you like to shop online, that’s fair enough, you like to find a good bargain, that’s fair enough. But don’t throw your money away to some business a thousand miles away. You can shop locally and find those bargains here too. If you are going online when doing the Christmas shopping this year, let’s order from local shops. They have just the same ability to cater to your needs as any faceless international retail corporation.
Shopping local, supporting local business is more important now than ever before. When we shop locally, we are not just supporting a local business; we are looking after our own communities. And we need to look after each other, and protect our communities, now more than ever.