Retail Ireland has urged the Government to unwind the restrictions on retail trading in advance of December in response to significantly reduced Covid case numbers and the need to manage Christmas trading safely over the coming weeks. 

Retail Ireland is the Ibec group that represents the retail sector.

It said the four week review of current Covid restrictions should move to unwind retail restrictions to better facilitate a safe and socially-distanced Christmas shopping experience. 

"A short three week shopping window in December will create significant additional challenges for retailers working to manage numbers in stores and reduce the need for queues," Retail Ireland's Arnold Dillon said.

Mr Dillon said that public health is the priority and retailers are taking extra steps to ensure a safe Christmas for customers. 

Many shops are looking at extending opening hours so that trade can be spread more evenly across the day, he added. 

"The run up to Christmas is make or break for many retailers. Many are relying on the period to make up for the major financial hit taken earlier in the year," Mr Dillon said.

"While significant government supports are welcome, more is needed to help retailers manage commercial rent liabilities that continue to accrue during lockdown," he added.