Groups representing Irish retailers have echoed pleas made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week for an end to panic buying at supermarkets in Roscommon and the rest of the country following the outbreak of Covid-19.
Last Thursday and Friday there were long queues at supermarkets across Roscommon as shoppers stocked up ahead of an expected nationwide lockdown due to the virus. Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said supply chains were functioning normally despite elevated demand. “However, retail distribution networks are not designed to deal with bulk buying on a widespread basis. It is important that consumers behave responsibility and don’t buy more than they need.
“Retailers are working with their suppliers and monitoring consumer behaviour to avoid any shortages”. – Arnold Dillon, Retail Ireland Director
Last week, David Fitzsimons, Group Chief Executive, Retail Excellence, assured shoppers that supplies would be maintained. On Monday, however, Mr. Fitzsimons wrote to 2,000 member companies to offer support on what he described as “the hardest and most challenging day in the history of the industry” as stores closed and employees were laid off. He highlighted new guidelines set to come into effect at pharmacies and food stores, including restrictions on the number of shoppers permitted at any one time and the importance of respecting the confidentiality of employees with illness.
He concluded by pledging continued support to retailers nationwide. “For those who have closed, switch off and keep safe. Don’t worry, commerce will return in Ireland. When this is all over we will host a party for you all. We will look back on what happened and celebrate how we got through it together,” he wrote.