A Dungannon councillor has expressed fears half of businesses within the town could close their doors permanently in the next month, if further financial support is not provided.
Councillor Clement Cuthbertson told October’s meeting of Mid Ulster District Council he feared “50 per cent of businesses in Dunganon won’t be there in a month’s time” during a discussion on the impact of Covid-19 across the district.
The issue was initially raised by independent councillor Barry Monteith who said the term ‘crisis point’ probably doesn’t cover the reality of the situation facing traders.
“The city manager in Derry City is calling for all business to be instructed to close as for those folk that are able to open, the footfall that is there does not pay them to open,” said Councillor Monteith.
“There is just a general sense of despair. A lot of folk were doing their best to get on with it and while we don’t have all the answers, they do appreciate the contact and the continual contact there is with our staff.
“I pay tribute to the work that our staff have done but those issues need to be reflected to the decision makers.
“We are in a position where business that are able to open should probably be told to close to avail of the financial help available otherwise they are going to close because the money is not coming through the door to justify staying open.”
Councillor Cuthbertson said he had been contacted by a Dungannon trader in recent days concerned about the lack of footfall in the town.
“The town is dead,” said Councillor Cuthbertson. “There has been nobody in through this trader’s shop this week.
“When you take the hospitality trade out of Dungannon there is nobody coming into the town.
“I don’t know what can be put in place, I don’t know what lobbying we can do to get help but there will be businesses closed before Christmas, if not sooner.
“Some are just holding out until restrictions ease and maybe hoping the Christmas rush will see them through but I fear that 50 per cent of businesses in Dungannon won’t be there in a month’s time.”