Retailers will be permitted to open earlier on Sunday 13 and Sunday 20 December, as Mid and East Antrim Borough Council works to support the local business community when the current Northern Ireland circuit breaker restrictions come to an end.
It is hoped the additional shopping time will help with social distancing concerns and protect our community during these difficult times.
A temporary relaxation of enforcement action against large food shops which choose to open earlier – ie from 10am to 6pm – on a Sunday to facilitate shopping for essential items for keyworkers, health care workers and vulnerable people including those with disabilities, in the lead up to Christmas, has also been agreed by Council.
The same temporary relaxation will apply to all retailers for Sunday 13 December and Sunday 20 December, enabling these businesses to open from 10am.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, welcomed the announcement.
“This will help our businesses to make up some lost time coming up to Christmas and it should also assist with social distancing in our town centres on a busy Sunday”, the Mayor continued.
“These arrangements are temporary and Council will keep them under continual review. Our business community has faced enormous struggles throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and we hope this will go some way to making up for lost time and reaping some benefit from the festive trading period.
“I am also delighted to see a temporary relaxation for large food shops who wish to make shopping on a Sunday easier for those key and essential workers in our community, as well as those who are vulnerable or have a disability.
“Christmas will be very different for so many within our community this year, not least our struggling but inspiring local businesses, and I know they can count on the support of our citizens to guide them towards brighter days.
“We have a fantastic retail offering across Mid and East Antrim, and I encourage everyone to safely #Rediscover the #SpiritofMEA by supporting local this Christmas.”