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One third of us to socialise less in city after Covid, survey finds

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A near-deserted Temple Bar in Dublin

A near-deserted Temple Bar in Dublin

A near-deserted Temple Bar in Dublin

Businesses in Dublin's city centre will be facing an uphill battle to attract people back for socialising, dining and shopping.

A new survey conducted by Dublin City Council has found approximately a third of respondents anticipated socialising, dining and non-grocery shopping in the city less often after Covid-19.

Attracting staycationers will also pose a problem, because while 51pc say they intend to travel in Ireland more, just 15pc anticipate doing it in Dublin.

The survey suggests that the city centre, which is struggling without office workers and tourists, will continue to feel the impact of the virus for an extended period.

Juliet Passmore, an economist with the council said: "The survey shows clear challenges for the city centre in terms of re-engaging people after the pandemic.

"With working from home levels expected to remain high, even before the new higher level of restrictions were imposed, and Dubliners reluctant to staycate in the city, the risk of permanent scarring is rising."

Meanwhile, the survey also showed widespread support for pro-environmental initiatives to be part of rebooting the economy, with 64pc indicating they wanted the promotion and protection of wildlife to be central to government plans.

There was also widespread support amongst Dubliners for the recent improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure in the city, with 67pc indicating they would like the Government's post Covid-19 plans to include the retention of the new cycle lanes and wider footpaths.

The study pointed out that there are significant changes to working from home patterns with implications for home energy use. Some 61pc indicated they were using more energy.

Commute patterns also look likely to be impacted, with just 20pc saying they will use public transport post pandemic, compared to 32pc previously.

The survey was carried out between August 13 and August 21 and attracted 951 respondents from across the city.

Opinions

"Your Dublin, Your Voice" is a council opinion panel which allows adults to sign up and give their opinions online on a variety of topics relating to the city.

Meanwhile, there was a warm response to measures introduced in the Budget this week to try and boost the economy.

Businesses forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions will be able to claim up to €5,000 per week from Revenue under the scheme.

The Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will provide businesses with immediate funding if they are forced to close due to restrictions at Level 3 or higher.

The payment is being made available to businesses whose turnover is down 80pc during the period they are closed because of coronavirus measures.

The scheme will be available to any business with an annual turnover of less than €2m.

It is hoped the scheme will allow businesses such as pubs and restaurants to "hibernate" while Covid restrictions are forcing them to close.

The money can be used to pay rent and any other business-associated costs while they are shut. They will also able to apply to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Separately, Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has reminded Dubliners that nominations close today for a frontline person or organisation for the first of the new monthly Lord Mayor's Awards.

October's category is 'Nursing Home Staff & Volunteers'.

The Lord Mayor's Awards, which usually take place annually, are taking place monthly this year to honour those who have worked tirelessly for us on the frontline in this pandemic.

Each month, members of the public will be invited to nominate either a frontline person or organisation that they think has gone above and beyond during Covid-19.

At the end of each month the Lord Mayor will decide the winner and present them with the award, a piece of specially-commissioned sculpture and a gift voucher worth €1,000.

There will be a different category each month.

Nominations for this month opened on October 1 and close today.