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Newry Councillor Michael Savage has engaged to bring key stakeholders in the city together in an initiative to keep Newry open for business while protecting citizens and visitors from the Covid-19 Virus. It follows the cancellation of the Newry St Patrick’s Day Parade and street stalls.

Councillor Savage has met with Newry BID in an attempt to encourage all businesses including the hospitality sector to develop and sign up to a Trading Charter in the City that follows the protocols and guidelines from the Public Health Authority and keeps businesses and entertainment venues open in a safe and controlled environment.

Cllr Michael Savage.
Cllr Michael Savage.

He said: “Given where we are in relation to the potential threat that Covid-19 poses, it was the correct decision to cancel the St Patrick’s Day parades in Newry and Downpatrick this year. That said, Newry is not closed for business and we need to support our commercial sector as best we possibly can over what will be a difficult trading period, while ensuring that citizens and visitors feel they are in a safe and controlled environment.

“I have held initial discussions today with Newry BID with a view to working towards the development of a Trading Charter for the City which will involve all businesses signing up to and following all the protocols and guidelines of the Public Health Authority and implementing initiatives that protect customers, patrons and visitors when they visit their premises and venues.

“This initiative is in the early stages of development and we hope to have the proposals more advanced by the weekend after consulting with health professionals and experts, local businesses, the Council and the local community.

“It is important that we strike the balance between protecting our people and safeguarding our economy and business sector. The health and wellbeing of our citizens comes first and will not be compromised by any initiative but it is important to explore what can be done to keep our economy moving while protecting the health of the people of our city and district at this difficult and worrying time.”

“Obviously we are in a very fluid situation with a virus that threatens lives and if we do get to a position where extraordinary measures have to be taken then Government must step up and provide a fund to support businesses through what would be a crisis scenario.
“However until such a scenario arises we need to take sensible measures that protect the health and wellbeing of our people as the priority and where possible keeps our economy moving.”

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