While not unexpected, last night’s announcement by the Irish government has sent a shockwave through society. From midnight on Wednesday, all non-essential businesses must close their doors, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop trading.

Some media reports are calling it a “return to lockdown”, but it’s worth noting that Ireland’s graded five-level system is described as a Plan for Living with COVID-19. In our opinion, the key word is ‘living’.

Our society has learned a thing or two since we ‘flattened the curve’ last Spring. We’ve learned how to wear masks and keep our distance, and to use technology to meet, work and play.

Research shows an increase in online shopping and a switch away from foreign sites to online Irish retailers. We know who our friends and neighbours are and we understand that we all depend on each other. Businesses that can work within the lockdown rules are supporting themselves and their staff – but they are also providing ‘essential services’ to their communities.

Let’s not get bogged down in what does or doesn’t qualify as ‘essential’. Covid aside, if your business wasn’t valued by customers it wouldn’t exist in the first place.

In fact, the government announcement lists a broad range of retail and services which qualify as essential, including schools and childcare facilities. But it also contains the following important definition of “essential retail”:

14. Any other retail outlet that operates an online or other remote system of ordering goods for purposes of collection at the retail outlet.

At Blacknight we’ve spent 17 years helping Irish businesses get online; the last six months has seen that work take on new importance. Now that we need ‘better than business as usual’, we’re working harder than ever, with shops who are going online for the first time. It’s the most rewarding work we’ve ever done.

That’s because we’re an Irish company ourselves. We’ve built our business on the foundation of solid customer support, with real people working the phones, and an understanding of what Irish businesses need. We’ve tamed the technology and made it easy to use, and we’ll help you every step of the way to make it work for your business.

Don’t take our word for it. Ask around. Read our reviews. Not sure what you need? Call us and we’ll help you put it all together.

We’ve had so many questions from customers that we’ve been running free webinars to demonstrate and explain. Our first series was held in July; all the episodes are recorded and are free to view. Our second series is ongoing: you can sign up for free at GoGlobalWith.Me. The next episode is tomorrow, Wednesday 21 October at 2:30 pm: How to Manage Shipping, Delivery and Collection with Blacknight shopBuilder. Just click the button below to register for free.

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