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The Northern Ireland president of the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) says the latest Covid lockdown announced by Stormont is disappointing but necessary if the spread of the virus is to be halted.

Judith Mercer, who owns Hamilton News in Cregagh Road, Belfast, said: “It’s going to be crippling for the economy, but at the same time we need measures put in place to stop the spread of this virus.

“We need people to understand that they must wear a mask when they are shopping in local stores, to protect themselves and shop staff. The local newsagent’s or convenience store seems to be a place where some people think they can just nip in and out, so they don’t need to wear a mask, which is very unfair on the staff.

“We all want to get back to normality as soon as possible, so if it takes a lockdown to help that then that’s what we have to have and everybody needs to stick to the rules.”

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