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Eerie silence as Omagh closes down

With the announcement of the closure of all non-essential shops, Omagh has quickly became a ghost town with shutters down and doors firmly closed on businesses.

Some of Omagh’s best known outlets such as Bob & Berts, Primark and Watterson’s all announced their closure before Prime Minister Boris Johnston’s stark announcement on restrictions on Monday night.

Since the announcement, majority of shops and businesses have followed suit and shut up shop, leaving only grocery stores and chemists open in the town.

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Primark, which opened in 2015 and employs over 100 people, has quickly become the busiest shop in Omagh but the fashion giant announced it was closing all Primark stores ‘until further notice’ to protect staff and customers.

Since opening, the store has welcomed thousands of customers, many from neighbouring counties such as Donegal and Fermanagh.

A Primark spokesperson said that any staff affected by store closures would receive full pay for their contracted hours for 14 days.

Other fashion outlets based in Omagh such as New Look, River Island, Sports Direct and Next have all closed their stores.

Restaurants and eateries have also been impacted, as Bob & Berts, Caffe Nero and Greggs all closed.

On Monday night, dozens of cars queued on the Dromore Road to buy their last McDonald’s for the foreseeable future after the fast food giant announced its closure.

The famous fast food restaurant announced that it would close its doors from 7pm on Monday night, and from Monday afternoon, McDonald’s was extremely busy while long queues for the drive through were always reported.

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A spokesman for the Omagh restaurant said, “We have not taken this decision lightly but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interest of our customers.

“We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.”

Traditional businesses have also been impacted as Wattersons on High Street, Omagh also announced the temporary closure of their shop with ‘a heavy heart.’

The well known retail drapery business houses seven departments and employs around 20 people and has been in business in 1938.

A post on Facebook said, “The health, safety and well-being of our customers, staff and family is our utmost priority.

“We must do the right thing by the communities in which we live and work to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“We would like to publicly thank our staff, our Watterson’s extended family, for be so supportive and understanding.”

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Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW