Gardaí are preparing to penalise retailers that are selling non-essential items during the Level Five lockdown.
The measures are set to focus on retailers of all sizes ignore current regulations and remain open to sell non-essential items alongside essentials such as food, PPE or workwear.
Gardaí have been carrying out compliance checks nationwide and shared images of operations on social media. A statement on Twitter said: “As part of our National Operation An Garda Síochána is checking compliance with essential retail. Retail services under Level 5 are subject to Penal Regulations, they can and are being enforced.”
They added: “An Garda Síochána continues to use 4Es, Engage, Explain, Encourage, and last Enforce.”
Compliance checks on Retail Premises today.
In line with Level 5 restrictions Retail Businesses can stay open for essential retail purposes only. Working together we can all make the difference #holdfirm #InThisTogether #WashYourHands pic.twitter.com/lrgTxKfSZH
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) October 25, 2020
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar commented that is it “unfair” for retailers to take advantage of the provisions in Covid-19 guidelines.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, he said the restrictions would be enforced: “If you are a supermarket or a big store that has groceries or clothes you should separate off the clothes and not sell them.”
Mr Varadkar continued: “Workwear is okay but general clothing is not. If you’re selling essential products that’s one thing, if you’re trying to use essential products as a means of opening your store that’s not ok, that’s not lawful and we will bring an enforcement action. Think of all the small shops and retail outlets that have had to close.
“It would be unfair for those allowed to stay open to somehow take advantage and it won’t be allowed.”