The pandemic, and the resulting restrictions, have had a negative effect on most businesses - but the new reality has also created a small number of opportunities.

That's seen some entrepreneurs and companies find new outlets for their skills and expertise - as they seek to serve the new demands that have arisen in recent weeks.

"Normally we employ over 40 people here," said Aoife Smith, head of client services at Movement which, along with sister brand W Display, helps companies to kit out the likes of exhibition displays, pop up shops and festivals.

"Some of the events in Europe, they were the first to get cancelled or postponed and then it came to the end of March and we had everything postponed or cancelled within a two week period," she said.

"We took the decision straight away to pretty much put 90% of our staff on temporary lay-off, I suppose to try and survive."

Catering to the new workforce

But rather than close its doors completely, the company instead launched a new product - tailored to workers that had also been sent home.

"We started producing Work From Home desks, which were designed in house and produced by our carpenters here," she said.

With so many people finding themselves working remotely with little or no notice there has been strong demand for quick-fix home offices - and Ms Smith says their product has helped fill that niche in recent weeks.

However it is also catering to the new requirements of the businesses that have been able to remain open.

"We also started to do lots of safety screens for retail and the hospitality industry, so the likes of cafes," she said. "Some of them had closed and were trying to open back up and maybe offer a takeaway service."

She hopes demand for this area of the business will continue even as Government restrictions begin to be eased, as the other shops that are allowed to reopen will be looking to do so in a way that adheres to physical distancing advice.

But while some in the hospitality sector have sought to continue with a limited service, others have been looking for new ways to generate revenue during the pandemic.

Bored diners turn to DIY dinners

That includes some novel approaches, like dinner kits that contain all the ingredients people need to recreate a menu item at home.

"We knew we needed something a little bit different, people wanted different," said Doug Leddin. "They’re sitting at home, they're bored, some families have young kids that they want to entertain for half an hour or an hour."

StuffUNeed.ie is one of the sites selling these kits.

It was launched by Doug Leddin - who runs the Ohana tiki bar in Dublin - and the owners of the Wing It restaurants.

It was set up in the aftermath of the initial restrictions, which saw pubs close, and was original designed to offer essential food deliveries with a short turn-around.

"We thought this could start as a service that’s helping to meeting demand and cater to people who can’t leave the house," he said. "People who were reliant on the big multis to deliver food, whose time slots were now two, three, four weeks out."

That may seem like a far cry from the pub trade, but Mr Leddin points out that the day job already gave them solid links with food and drink suppliers. And having looked at what had happened in countries that had closed their economies before Ireland, it was clear to Mr Leddin and his colleagues that access to groceries would be a pinch point.

The number of products on offer on the site slowly began to expand and they then came across the idea of restaurant kits - something that was already popular in New York and London.

It wasn't initially clear whether it would catch on in Ireland, but they already have plans to expand its range.

"We didn't know if this was something people wanted, needed or desired," Mr Leddin said. "But in the first weekend we sold about 400 kits and now we've sold about 1,200 kits - and that’s in a 10 day period.

"Look it's another revenue stream for restaurants. It can be a bit labour-intensive but it's a high ticket price, so it makes sense for them."

Supporting stalled firms

But some restaurants and cafes have not been able to stay operational in any form - which is where VouchFor.ie comes in.

"It’s basically a website where Irish consumers can buy digital gift vouchers from any of the bars, cafes and restaurants that have had to close down temporarily due to Covid," said co-creator Nev Flynn.

"We saw that there was a really big push in the media for Irish consumers to buy digital gift vouchers, but so many of these bars and restaurants and cafes didn’t have the infrastructure to start them, so that’s why we started VouchFor."

It was created by Nev and his business partner Cian Farrell - who normally run video-based hiring app Recroot.

When hiring by its clients stalled last month, they quickly decided to return home from their Berlin base, and put their time towards helping the firms that were badly affected by the pandemic.

"Since we're hospitality a lot of our customers and clients have been put on hold for the time being," he said.

"Obviously it was devastating to come back and have everything on pause like that, but there are larger problems at play.

"When we got back we saw the willingness of the Irish people to try and be helpful and we very quickly switched our attitude from feeling sorry for ourselves to wanting to help."