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Public support for local businesses key to recovery

SHOPPERS are being urged to come out and support local businesses as towns and villages across Tyrone continue to re-emerge from lockdown.

Footfall on the streets has increased massively in the past week as the majority of shops and businesses have finally reopened after almost a 12 week closure due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Further businesses such as hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops are due to reopen from Friday, while hairdressers, barbers, tanning salons and barbers will reopen from next Monday (July 6).

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Over the past two weeks, shoppers and staff have been embracing the ‘new normal’ and fresh appeals have issued more people to shop local.

Bronagh Gormley, who is the business development officer at Omagh Chamber of Commerce said, “We would urge everyone to continue to support local businesses.

“Many local businesses adapted very quickly to offer home delivery, online services or reduced services to ensure customers’ needs were met during the peak of Covid-19.

“As lockdown begins to ease and people are thinking about going out for a meal, staying in a hotel or heading away for the day, we are urging them to remember what is on their own doorstep.

“I am encouraging everyone to shop local, eat local, stay local and support local – Omagh has everything to offer,” concluded Ms Gormley.

Meanwhile, a cinema boss has expressed his ‘disappointment’ and frustration at the delay in reopening cinemas.

Cinemas in the North cannot reopen until July 29 while cinemas in England can reopen on July 4 and from June 29 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Leading chain Omniplex operates cinemas in Omagh and Dungannon, and director Paul John Anderson said they will be fighting to try and get an earlier opening date.

Mr Anderson said “It is not ideal. We are disappointed that cinemas have been pushed out to July 29 in Northern Ireland as they can open on June 29 in the Republic of Ireland.
“I do not know how the science is so different.

“Gyms, competitive sport, restaurants and bars are all ahead of cinemas so we are extremely disappointed.

“I do not know why we have been pushed out so late. There are livelihoods on the line.

“We employ hundreds of people, pay millions in rates every year and pay our taxes.”

Mr Anderson is confident that safety measures can be put in place to allow customers to safely enjoy the cinema experience.

He continued, “I think we were incorrectly categorised and we are trying to communicate how the cinema can be a controlled environment.

“We can control when people enter and leave the building, what seats they sit in and how far away they sit from someone else.

“It can be an extremely controlled environment – more so than a restaurant or pub. We are ready to go and open.

“The public are taking this seriously and the first protocol for us is the safety of our staff and customers.”

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Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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