Under the latest plan to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the Government has said that non-essential retail outlets must close from close of business on 31 December.

However, retail outlets that are deemed essential may remain open, with public health measures in place.

Here is what the Government has outlined as essential retail:


- Businesses that sell food or beverages on a takeaway basis.

- Shops that offer food for sale.

- Outlets that sell products necessary for home maintenance, such as hardware outlets and builders' merchants. 

- Banks, post offices and credit unions.

- Pharmacies, chemists and retailers or wholesalers providing pharmaceuticals, as well as outlets selling health, medical or orthopaedic goods in a specialised outlet.

- Fuel service stations and heating fuel providers.

- Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals.

- Laundries and dry cleaners are considered essential.

- Businesses selling health, medical or orthopaedic goods.

- Outlets selling safety supplies, including work-wear apparel, footwear and PPE.

- Mechanics and bike repair shops can remain open.

- Businesses that offer services on an emergency basis such as those sell hearing aids, office products, those who provide electrical, information and communications technology and telephone sales, repair and maintenance services.

- Optician and optometrist outlets.

- Retail outlets that operate online can open to provide goods for collection.


The Government has also said that retailers with mixed offerings - such as supermarkets that sell food and also sell clothing - should make arrangements for the separation of essential and non-essential retail items.

The Government has also said that people should work from home unless they are providing an essential service. A list of essential services has been published online here.