A number of the leading business and hospitality organisations across Northern Ireland have joined with Executive Ministers in appealing to the public to take personal responsibility, stay safe and work with those in retail and hospitality settings over the Christmas period.
Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Causeway Chamber of Commerce, Hospitality Ulster, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, NI Retail Consortium, Newry Chamber of Commerce and Retail NI have joined forces with Ministers to remind customers to keep wearing their face coverings in all indoor settings and urged everyone to be respectful of staff working during the busiest period of the year.
They are also encouraging all those eligible to access the COVID-19 vaccines, including the booster, in the run up to Christmas to protect themselves, other customers and staff working in thousands of businesses across NI this Christmas.
The industry bodies are also calling on the public to remember their Christmas spirit and work with businesses this winter with the threat of the Omicron variant and restrictions remaining in place.
In a joint statement they said: “We acknowledge and are thankful for the public’s efforts from the very beginning of pandemic. We are now urging everyone to redouble their efforts as we face this busy Christmas period.”
“In the midst of what is proving to be a very difficult winter, we appeal to people across Northern Ireland – young and old – to play their part in driving this virus down and keeping everyone safe.”
“The scientific evidence suggests that the Omicron variant of the virus is much more transmissible and we cannot afford to become complacent.”
“Businesses have and will continue to do all they can to make their premises as safe as possible to protect both staff and customers. Together with our businesses, we are appealing to customers and the wider public to join with us and keep themselves and our staff safe this Christmas. Simple things like taking a lateral flow test before you meet up with others; the wearing of face coverings; washing hands and getting your booster vaccine can all help us this festive period as we work through this tough time.
“We appreciate the support shown by our customers throughout this crisis and encourage them to continue supporting their local high streets and hospitality venues this Christmas.”
“Christmas is a time for togetherness, so let’s all pull together. Let’s look after each other, protect our most vulnerable and our health service, support our local businesses, and ensure this Christmas is one filled with hope and community spirit.”