How it affects your shopping experience:
First off, you get to do your bit for small Irish employers - so there's the feel good factor there, instead of giving your money to global monster retailers, you're doing your bit to save the Irish economy!
Your online shopping experience will in fact be enhanced. There are more items and great deals in our online store than ever before! And we are available on our site via the Tawk.to app, and also available on social media and email, so feel free to pick our brains or ask about stock you know we have but cannot find. We're here to make you feel like you are virtually in our shop! (see what I did there??)
We are also offering free local delivery for those who live in the quadrangle of Laragh - Bray - Arklow - Rathdrum. Anyone outside this area will continue to have free delivery with the associated spend value, but we have also worked hard to lower our delivery rate if you do make a smaller purchase.
Fair usage, patience and our capacity apply for this free local delivery offer which we hope to continue to offer until normal business resumes.
For your peace of mind:
- Only one person is involved in the picking and packing of your order.
- Hand washing and hand sanitising takes place prior to picking and packing.
- The wrapped parcel is then handed to the assigned courier service for delivery or is delivered by us. Where capacity allows, this delivery by us will be conducted by the same person who picked and packed your order keeping your contacts to the absolute minimum.
When you receive your parcel, irrespective of how it was delivered, we recommend quarantining it in it's packaging before use for up to 3 days (24 hours for paper/card, 3 days for plastic) as appropriate.
Please see the HSE website for further, trusted information.
How it affects us:
There has been much confusion regarding the operation of non-essential business in an online capacity. Initially, once the announcement was made by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, on 27th March that all non-essential business should cease, that's exactly what we did. Our bricks & mortar store in Glendalough was already closed as a pre-emptive measure.
We sought clarification from Minister Humphrey's Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on 1st April as to whether that order referred also to online retailers who could operate safely. We were given the list of essential businesses as of that date and informed that:
Employers and service providers should refer to this guidance to decide whether or not their business is providing an essential service; it is not necessary to seek official authorisation.
As a non-essential business, we were content with the clarity given at that time and happy to do our part in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. However, it did appear that other non-essential retailers were given differing advice.
As such, on 17th April, we sought further clarification and received this response:
With regard to on-line retail activities by those retail outlets not on the list of essential retails stores, orders may be processed and fulfilled online, but must adhere to the following:
- The administration/processing activities associated with online orders and fulfilment must be done home-based (i.e. home based working and not office based);
- The employer must have only a minimum level of staff on site (e.g. in warehouse, depot) for fulfilment; and
- The requirements in relation to physical distancing must be rigorously adhered to in the carrying out of the fulfilment activities.
The above must be considered by you the business owner when deciding whether your business can operate safely during this pandemic.
As a small, family run business, these regulations are quite straightforward for us. As such, we decided to re-open our online store.
If you have any concerns or queries in relation to us being open in this capacity, we welcome your thoughts and input. We take our public health responsibilities very seriously as we work alongside health professionals in our volunteer work and in no way wish to undermine anyone's health and safety.
When will we physically re-open? And how will it work?
We envisage re-opening our bricks & mortar store from Phase 4 onwards (20th July), once it is permissible to travel outside the 20km radius. In accordance with government guidelines, this will be done on the basis of a restriction on the number of staff and customers per square metre so that social distancing can be maintained.
A video doorbell will be in operation to manage the number of individuals in store at any one time and also to avoid people passing one another on the stairs. Assistance and/or signage will be in place to help manage this and the flow of traffic around the shop itself.
To facilitate regular cleaning and staff breaks, you may find that you cannot enter the shop during our usual opening times. Please be patient with us as we work around these new logistics. We'll allow you in store as soon as possible.
Anyone entering the building will be kindly requested to wear a face-mask and use hand-santiser upon entering and leaving the building.
Doors will be propped open to avoid unnecessary. Customer toilets will not be accessible during this time.
Where possible, stock will be displayed in such a way that you can see it from all sides to limit the amount of unnecessary handling of stock. Changing facilities can of course be used, please seek sizing advice from staff regarding which size is most likely to fit well. (Every brand sizes things differently, a Large in one brand may be a Medium in another).
We hope to return to working outdoors from Phase 4 onwards also and are currently looking at the logistics surrounding group bookings, cleaning and sterilising of PPE and so on.