Brendan Allen, the President of Roscommon Chamber of Commerce, says that businesses in the county town which have been reopening over recent weeks are deeply grateful to the public for their loyalty and support during this unprecedented pandemic.
Mr. Allen, who welcomed the reopening of restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, barbers and other businesses this week, said that it is now more important than ever that people in Roscommon work together to ensure that the local economy can recover from the upheaval of recent months.
He has paid tribute to local business owners and their staff, to the wider public, and to local agencies such as Roscommon LEADER and Roscommon County Council, all of whom have played their part in mounting a united, community-driven response during lockdown.
The Chamber President said that local businesses have – in an extremely challenging and uncertain economic climate – invested in measures aimed at ensuring that staff and customers can feel safe as the reopening process gathers momentum.
‘Don’t take local
economy for granted’
Speaking to your locally-owned community-focussed newspaper, the Roscommon People, Mr. Allen said one lesson of lockdown is that it is important for all of us to appreciate our local economy and “never take it for granted”.
The local business community has been hit by an economic tsunami in recent months and is facing an uncertain future.
“The business community really needs the continued support of the people of Roscommon at this critical time” Mr. Allen said.
“There is still a lot of fear out there, with regard to a possible second wave of Covid-19. However, I want to strike a positive note. If there is a resurgence, of whatever scale, we will know what to do this time. Back in March, when this pandemic began to impact in Ireland, we had to learn how to respond. We had to learn about the hygiene guidelines, social distancing, cocooning, testing, self-isolation, etc.
“People should not underestimate the amount of knowledge we have now. I think we can take real heart from that.
“Also, another positive is the fact that local businesses have invested a lot in recent weeks in preparation for reopening and with a view to ensuring the safety of staff and customers. So we have that ‘defence’ in place too”.
A positive week!
The Roscommon Chamber President said that it has been encouraging to see a number of businesses across various sectors reopening over the past week or two. A number of essential services had remained open during the pandemic and Mr. Allen paid tribute to those businesses, and the frontline workers involved.
He said it was particularly heartening to see cafes reopening. “It was lovely to see cafes and coffee shops in town this week with people in them! A lovely sight! A few months ago, it would have seemed crazy if someone had said that Roscommon’s cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels would be closed for three months”.
Currently, pubs that serve food are entitled to reopen, while other pubs and bars can open their doors from July 20th. However, as reported in this supplement this week, local publicans are frustrated over lack of clarity as to the guidelines they will be required to follow.
The Chamber President shares the publicans’ concerns – as voiced by Larry Brennan in this week’s People.
“I really hope that our pubs get clarity on these issues without any further delay. As I understand it, they still don’t know if the social distancing requirement will be two metres or one metre. They need that clarity now”.
According to Roscommon Chamber of Commerce, and contrary to some trends elsewhere nationally, there is increased wearing of face masks in the county town.
Brendan Allen: “People are moving around a lot more over the past ten days or so. Our observation would be that there is actually an increased use of face masks over the past week or so. We welcome this. Roscommon Chamber is encouraging wearing of face masks by people when they are in close proximity to other people…all in the interests of public safety. We encourage it, but ultimately it is up to people to take responsibility”.
Mr. Allen said it is the business community’s view that social distancing is now becoming the norm and that has to be welcomed at this point in time, as efforts continue to curb and defeat the virus.
A word of thanks
Roscommon Chamber of Commerce launched ‘Resilient Roscommon’ in conjunction with the Roscommon People newspaper, Roscommon LEADER and the County Council.
That initiative was hugely successful, with volunteers delivering food, other goods and services to hundreds of homes in the Roscommon Town area.
Mr. Allen said that he wishes, on behalf of the Chamber, to thank all the stakeholders who made that initiative such a success at a time of great need in the community. In particular, he wishes to thank Roscommon LEADER, Roscommon County Council, local sporting and voluntary groups, the business community, and the wider public.
The Roscommon People newspaper and Roscommon Chamber of Commerce, as part of our joint response to the Covid-19 crisis, is appealing to the public to continue to exclusively shop locally as the huge challenge of mounting an economic recovery gets underway.
Brendan Allen (Chamber President): “We have a great county town and a great county. We genuinely have everything you need locally. Local businesses need your support more than ever. Local businesses, most of which have been closed for months – an unprecedented situation for them – are desperately trying to salvage and maintain employment levels. Every euro spent locally will help keep people in employment.
“The members of Roscommon Chamber – and all local businesses who are not members are invited to join us now – are deeply grateful to our local customers for their support. We know that it’s a very tough time for everybody. Key to our recovery will be Roscommon’s great community spirit. We can do this – together. Adhering to a ‘shop local’ philosophy will be key. Let’s get Roscommon moving again!”
On behalf of Roscommon Chamber, Mr. Allen wished everyone well and concluded: “Please continue to follow all HSE/Government guidelines. Shop local, support your local community, stay in touch, and stay safe”.