Ciaran Conway, manager of Merrins' Gala, Newbridge Road, Naas
"This is a difficult time for everyone,” said Ciaran Conway, manager of Merrins Gala, Naas. “For the first time in my generation, we are faced with a situation where we all as a community must come together for the greater good.”
“Every hour the situation is changing,” he said. “The key issues for Kildare retailers are: panic buying, restocking, staff concerns and trying to observe the restrictions re social distancing while delivering a service to the community and our loyal customers”.
Regarding the panic buying witnessed last week, Mr Conway told the Leinster Leader: “There is no logic at all to it. Too many people are getting their information from social media and following each other like sheep, rather than following reputable media outlets and newspapers.”
As with other retailers contacted last week, Mr Conway stated there was no shortage of food and goods.
Kildare retailer assures the public that warehouses across the country are well stocked with supplies, and daily goods are being supplied to supermarkets and shops across the county (file photo)
“The shortage witnessed last week was as a result of panic buying — warehouses across the country were never more packed with supplies in advance of Brexit. There need not be any panic, the shelves are being restocked quickly and deliveries arriving regularly. So panic buying is totally unnecessary,” he said.
However, he did note that as the situation continues, “it is likely there will be a shortage in some products over the coming weeks, this is only natural”.
“So we must be mindful of elderly people who need supplies. What I am doing is keeping some items such as bread, Dettol and flour behind for those likely to need them most.
Mr Conway said that Merrin's Gala, Naas, were hugely aware of the vulnerability of their older customers. “I’ve given our regular elderly customers my mobile here so they can ring and ask for groceries if they run out, and we can deliver to them.”
He also stated that shop staff were in the frontline of providing a service.
“We are also aware that staff are coming in and helping to run a business and putting themselves in a dangerous position, so it’s a balancing act to get social distancing right and to protect both staff and shoppers. All staff wear gloves while at work”.
Social distancing, he said, where people must keep 6.5 feet of a space between them and the next customer is a challenge.
“We can only hope people are taking the warnings seriously. Over the next few days, as the confirmed cases of the virus rise, I believe we may see more extreme measures coming in to place in retail. We are ready to adopt these measures but only together as a community will we overcome this virus and get back to normal,” he concluded.