“I am trying to get a bargain. I’m looking for runners, leggings, anything I can get for the children,” said Brendan Rogers as he stood in a long queue on Enniskillen’s Townhall Street waiting to get into Sports Direct on Monday, the day many of our shops reopened after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Despite the humidity shoppers like Brendan joined the queue throughout the day which stretched from Townhall Street, into East Bridge Street and around the corner by Regal Pass in the hope of bagging a deal after the mega store announced 50 per cent off for healthcare workers.

Pre-lockdown the mid-morning rush would have seen cafes filled with office workers on a quick coffee break and restaurants preparing for lunch but as they are still closed for now this was the largest queue anywhere in town.

“It’s quite the queue,” remarked Brendan, wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

“I had ordered plenty of thing online, but they never came. I like trying things on and returning them the next day if I need to. I am after runners, leggings, anything I can get for the children,” said the community worker.

While many in the queue practised social distancing, like Brendan, he expressed his concern that some people are not taking the pandemic seriously enough.

“There are some in the community who do not seem to care; some people who are a little blasé about it and then there are other people who if you go in close proximity to them they panic.

“It depends on the ages and what their households have been doing. Then you have other people who could stand on top of you, so you must be careful,” he said.

“It’s risky and that is the worry,” said nurse Suja Panicker who has been working at South West Acute Hospital’s Covid ward. She was in the queue with her family “for new shoes”.

“I saw everybody else here so thought I would join too,” she laughed.

“I have heard of a potential second wave, you have to be careful,” added Suja.

Clerical worker Veronica Bogue who works in South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) and had joined the queue 15 minutes before was of the same opinion.

“This is my first time to go into any of the stores since the lockdown, I was worried,” she told this newspaper.

“I was a bit apprehensive coming in then you see this queue and you think, maybe some of us are not all social distancing as we were doing for so long. Some people are getting more confident now, but I would be scared that maybe they are getting too confident.

“I am hoping that people will be a lot more careful. As far as going to restaurants, bars, even going on a holiday, that is a definite no, no for me,” said Veronica.

She paid tribute to her SWAH colleagues describing the past number of months as “very scary”.

“It was not knowing; it was very scary at the beginning. You get through one week, then you get to another and it is extended. They have been angels,” she said.

But she wouldn’t tell this newspaper what she was seeking to buy. “If I told you that I would be giving it away as I am looking for birthday presents for my grandchildren,” she laughed.

Over on Church Street greengrocer John Gallagher, who runs Gillen’s, was less than impressed with the “appearance” of a busy town.

“There is an awful lot of cars about the town but where are the customers? It is the big shops they are at up the town, that is where most of the people are going.

“Down this side of town there would not be too many people about,” he said.

John was forced to “diversify” during the past few months by offering deliveries to his customers but even that he says is still not enough for some people post-lockdown.

“The deliveries were going well but now there are a lot of people going back to old habits; they are going back to Tesco and Asda. I even had a customer who I had been delivering to for seven weeks who phoned me up the other day and said she was going back to Tesco,” he said.

John added: “Supporting local shopping was good when it lasted but unfortunately people are going back to the supermarkets for the one stop shop. There is going to be tough times ahead and I do not know what the future holds to be honest.”

The businessman is now considering closing at least one day during the week.

“There are shops on this street that do not open on Mondays and I am seriously considering doing the same myself. At the start of the week there is nobody about.”

Back on East Bridge Street and Katie Kennedy, who runs Fermanagh Cottage Industries, has a specially commissioned anti-bacterial gel stand at the door.

“You stick your foot on the pedal, you don’t touch it,” shouted her mother Karen, to this reporter.

The 61-year-old shop closed back in March and reopened last week.

“It was strange reopening because you did not know what to do and the customers do not know what they are doing,” explained Katie.

“Customers are nervous, they are afraid, and nobody knows what to do coming into shops. They feel they are being judged, but I think people respect they need to shop local,” she said.

“The town is looks open but it is not,” shouted Ashley Rutherford as he crossed the road near Market Street and walked towards us.

“I have been walking about/ You have Sports Direct with the big queue outside it but the rest of the town isn’t going. I have been around this town for years and it looks very strange. This is my first time back since the lockdown and I cannot make it out.

“There are a few things I need to get, and I can’t get them. I have a list; I need to get to the hardware store, and I can’t. I will have to go to one of the bigger chains and sure that is not the same as supporting a local shop.

“There are some businesses here that will be devastated. It makes me sad because this is a town that is usually open for business and one that needs support to survive,” he said.