Health food retailers in Ireland this week learned they had been designated “essential retail” status by the Irish Government, meaning they can continue to stay open during the unfolding Covid-19 crisis.
Health stores are included in the ‘specialised stores’ subcategory of the list of ‘Essential retail outlets’ named in public health guidance to retail businesses, published on 24 March.
Retailers have been given an additional set of guidelines and responsibilities, including the control of queues outside their premises. Health Stores Ireland issued guidelines for members on March 15th and member stores had been operating with new procedures and safety measures to ensure adherence to social distancing and maintaining safety for staff and community in advance of this week’s Government announcement.
In a statement issued on 16 March, the association said: “Health Stores Ireland member stores are making important and sometimes difficult changes to their working practices to protect customers, staff, owners and the wider community. Depending on the size and nature of their stores, businesses are offering call & collect options, limiting access numbers to their shops and offering delivery services.
“While our services are needed more than ever we will support the Expert Advisory Group plan to ensure we can minimise the spread of the virus. As always, we will work within our community with the advise of regulators to protect the health and well-being of our customers and the wide population.”
Photo: Ashleaf Crumli, Dublin, branch of Health Matters with social distancing implementation