The following is an email sent to all HAI members on Monday the 20th of April regarding the latest clarification of guidelines for the hardware sector amid the ongoingCovid-19 pandemic.
From day one of this crisis the Board of HAI took the decision to stick only to the facts of the situation and advise our members accordingly. Bearing in mind that positions appear to have shifted over the last few weeks and may again shift this is our interpretation as of today.
HAI will inform members should there be further changes.
Further to recent media speculation regarding the guidelines on the opening of hardware shops and builders’ merchants, please see below.
Government advice has been slow in coming and “grey” in parts. There may be a difference between guidelines and the legal definition of what is allowable and legally enforceable in each and every instance. As well as questions to the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) we have put in questions to the Dept of Justice and An Garda Síochána.
In every instance we have been referred back to the DBEI. So from a practical viewpoint we think it best to take direction from them.
The guidelines were clarified by Minister Heather Humphreys in an interview on RTE Radio 1 on Sunday 19th April. In the words of the Minister to the question as to whether hardware shops are essential retail outlets or are they not? – “hardware stores can operate, and I want to stress in a limited and restricted way. It is not the case that hardware stores should be open to the general public, but if you need something in an emergency for example if you have a burst pipe in your house or if there is a hole in your roof and the rain is coming in or the fridge gives up, obviously in emergency cases like that, you and your tradesman are going to be able to access certain materials in the hardware shop to fix the problem, so I want to stress in cases like that it should be done by delivery, or on an emergency call-up basis so basically if there is an emergency and you need to get something the hardware stores can provide that to you”. (Interviewer- “but not open to the general public” ) Ends.
This echoes the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer.
A fundamental tenet of the guidelines is to discourage footfall. As HAI understands it there is no impediment to remote business – by phone, by e mail or on-line. This is providing that the NSAI rules (on physical distancing etc) are adhered to, and products are delivered to the customer.
The guidelines were put in place to safeguard public health and save lives and as an industry we wholeheartedly support all government efforts to suppress and reduce the effect Covid-19 is having on how we live our lives and the way we operate business.
These are extremely difficult times, but HAI urges all members and non-members to operate in the spirit of what is the right thing to do, the best interests of people’s physical health, and in order to play your part in containing the spread and saving lives.
Finally, HAI and our members will be in a prime industry to jumpstart our economy and drive its resurgence. We have a considered plan to do so – HAI 2020 Recovery Plan. We will have more detail for members on this tomorrow.
Hardware Association Ireland