28 Jun 2022

Longford businesses staying upbeat despite Covid-19 crisis

We may be living in extraordinary and unchartered times, but that hasn’t stopped local businesses from urging consumers and the wider general public to stay positive in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stanislav Hromada aka 'Stan the Man' gave his assessment on Longford's current and future fiscal fortunes amid growing uncertainty concerning the spread of the coronavirus.

The Slovakian entrepreneur, who has been in business for the past 15 years, said despite the prevailing negativity, it was important for locals and society in general to stay optimistic.

"It's very quiet at the moment," he said.

"Everywhere is nearly closed down but we still keep going."

Mr Hromada confided had it not been for the perennial busy nature that comes with operating a florists ahead of Mother's Day, he too would have been forced to close his doors.

That said, Mr Hromada vowed to try and press on, a mindset he said should be adopted by his fellow entrepreneurial peers and the wider public in general.

"I hope I get more people in last minute because Mother's Day is Mother's Day and people are still ringing from abroad and buying flowers.

"It's (level of business) has gone very bad. I see my books and everything, it's gone down.

"There are a few orders and we used to have five or six people working for Mother's Day and that but I am on my own with one other person here."

Asked if towns like Longford were well placed to recover from the present economic malaise, Mr Hromada said: "I hope so.

"If we don't I will have to run from this country, I will have to move which I can't even do (at the minute).”

He said the one shining example of how Longford and its citizens might come through the current crisis, Mr Hromada pointed to how many local groups and communities had rallied around in each other over the past couple of weeks.

"It is good," he said, before telling folk to stay calm.

It was a similar tale of positivity which was delivered by Monaghan’s Butchers on Killashee Street.

The long established and well respected firm has, unlike so many small and medium sized enterprises, prospered from the sudden socio-economic downturn which has gripped the county.

"It (Covid-19) hasn't really (affected us)," said Martin Monaghan.

"Our footfall has improved with the closure of all the restaurants and the eateries people are eating at home and that has only improved us."

Mr Monaghan said despite the upheaval of recent days it was imperative businesses and the local community pulled together.

"I think we just have to follow the rules and regulations sent down.

"A lot of businesses will be in trouble after this, but this is what we unfortunately have to do to make sure things stay ok again in the future for ourselves," he said.

The Fianna Fáil local politician conceded that while a certain percentage of local firms already closed might not recover from the growing threat of Covid-19, now was the time for councils, state agencies and Ireland's current government to stick together.

"I believe some (businesses) may not open again, yes.

"This has been a major hit and we need some kind of financial backing from local and national government to help what's happening in the town.

"It won't set us any further back than any of the other counties that are impacted. Everybody is in the same boat. It's not just a localised thing, it's a national thing."

As part of the current health crisis, Monaghan's Butchers have rolled out a delivery service to its customers as part of ways to uphold social distancing protocols.

Mr Monaghan said he believed shops and local towns would start to return to some semblance of commonality by mid May and hinted at the possible introduction of more draconian measures to halt the spread of Covid-19.

"I think you might normality again in about six or seven weeks.

"I do think there will be more measures brought through. All we have to do is look at what has been happened on a European level. We are no different from any other country in Europe and I think our protocols are just going to follow the same lines," he said.

"Legislation had to change at some stage because of our antiquated laws in several different departments. I think you are gradually going to see a slowdown and a lockdown of it, but we will do it in a more timely and mannerly manner than what's happened.

"We seem to be ahead of the minute of most countries in Europe, we have reacted a lot quicker but we are learning on the fact that other European countries have had to do this."

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