The Barber is Back in Action! Well known Carrick-on-Shannon barber Michael Masterson was delighted to re-open his door. Picture: Willie Donnellan
The easing of restrictions from Level 5 to Level 3 which came into effect on December 1 has been widely welcomed here in Co Leitrim with businesses eagerly getting back to work and welcoming back their loyal customers and clients.
Towns and villages around the county had a noticeable increase in pedestrian footfall as all retail outlets including hairdressers, beauty salons, retail shops and barbers re-opened their doors.
Businesses have been eagerly preparing for the re-opening in time for the busy Christmas season.
Many local businesses welcomed the re-opening thanking their loyal customers via social media for their continued support.
Ballinamore hairdresser, Elaine McCormack, said: “Looking forward to the laughter and fun from my clients. They say hairdressers are the happiest of all jobs and it's true.” While at the other end of the county Dollhouse Hair and Beauty in Kinlough said, “Christmas isn’t a season it’s a feeling. We can’t wait to re-open our doors and make you feel extra special this year.”
The Manor boutique, Manorhamilton noted, “We are delighted to open our doors and welcome you back for a little retail therapy.”
These sentiments were echoed throughout the county.
Good news as well for cinema-goers with Carrick Cineplex set to reopen its doors on December 4. The staff said: “We can’t wait to get back open and entertain our loyal customers in a Covid-safe environment!”
Pubs serving food will also re-open this Friday but unfortunately, it was not all good news with so-called 'wet' pubs remaining closed.
Relaxed measures for Christmas
As of December 1, a raft of new measures came into place as businesses in the county began reopening under Level 3 Covid restrictions.
However households are still not allowed to mix with other households outside your support bubble in your home or garden.
In outdoor settings away from your home or garden, up to 6 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet while maintaining strict physical distancing.
Face coverings are recommended in busy or crowded areas.
Weddings can go ahead, but with a limit of 25 guests for ceremony and reception (irrespective of venue).
Cinemas can now reopen with protective measures in place.
Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place outdoors and face coverings are recommended in busy or crowded areas.
Non contact sports training only in pods of up to 15 is now allowed outside while indoors and this includes in gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools.
Places of worship can now open for services with a maximum of 50 people with face coverings recommended.
Up to 25 mourners can now attend funerals.
From this Friday, December 4, restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants (serving a substantial meal) can open for indoor dining with additional restrictions, including a requirement for meals to be prepared on site, inside the premises, with a maximum of 6 people per table.
Wet pubs can only open for delivery and take-away services.
All retail shops and shopping centres can open. All services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and opticians can open with strict adherence to sectoral guidance on protective measures.
People are still encouraged to work from home unless absolutely necessary and to stay in your county apart from work, education, medical and other essential purposes
Schools and creches remain open with protective measures while higher and adult education should remain primarily online.
A further relaxation of measures will come in play from December 18 which will include travel outside your county and allowing visitors to your home from two other households.
Meanwhile, there was a small increase in the number of people in County Leitrim in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) this week. As of yesterday, Tuesday, December 1, there were 2,043 people in receipt of the payment in Leitrim, up 8 from the previous week.