A lot of people are “confused” about what size of turkey to order for their Christmas dinner this year due to the restrictions in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, a well-known local butcher has claimed. Eamon Thomas, who co-owns the Meat Joint with Gerry Moore and Ian Davis, said this week that some customers have moved down a couple of kilos this festive season, as they are still unsure over how many people they will be having for the traditional celebration on this December 25.
“It’s hard for people to know,” he admitted. While Mr Thomas said the last eight months had been the toughest time that he could recall for the business, which has premises in Omagh, Kesh and Newtownstewart, good teamwork from their staff and strong support from their loyal customers had played their part in seeing them through so far. He said, “It’ been a very difficult time. As a small business we are lucky to still be trading. Food retailers like ourselves are allowed to have their doors open for staff and customers, but other businesses in the town have not been so lucky.”
But, while the size of the turkeys might be smaller this Christmas, Mr Thomas said the numbers of orders they were receiving had remained steady, compared to previous years. “Year in, year out, we are supported by our loyal customers. You would see the same names in our order book and welcome the same faces into the shop,” he added.
Meanwhile, Paddy Hughes, owner of the Eurospar in Carrickmore, said that, so far, the size of the turkeys being ordered in his store were in keeping with previous years.“It’s early days, but the orders we are getting from customers are duplicating what they had before,” he said. Mr Hughes said that their butchery section had received “quite an uplift” in business during the spring lockdown.
“The restrictions meant that people were not able to go very far and the good weather in April, May and June was a perfect time for barbequing. “When restaurants and cafes are closed, we also see an increase in business. It’s unbelievable the amount of people who eat out,” he said.
One of the surprising features of the Covid-19 pandemic for Mr Hughes has been the return to popularity for the good old Sunday roast. While it had been going out of fashion in recent years, the Carrickmore store owner said the traditional dish had received a boost with more people cooking at home. “Maybe they have realised it’s not too bad,” he said. Conceding that online shopping is “far too easy and accessible”, Mr Hughes also urged local consumers to make the extra effort this year and support traders in Tyrone this Christmas.