Published Thursday, 27 September 2012
The covenant parade is expected to be finished in Belfast by 1.30pm. (© Pacemaker)
Shops will be open as thousands march through the streets to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the covenant.
The parade sets off from Belfast City Hall at 11am and is expected to be clear of the city by 1.30pm, with shops open from 9am to 6pm.
Joe Jordan, President of Belfast Chamber of Trade, said: "After a highly successful meeting last week with the Orange Order, we can confirm that all parades will have left the city by 1.30pm, allowing for normal traffic flow and trading from this time onwards.
"We want to encourage consumers into the city to support our retail core," he added.
The time hours between 1pm and 4pm are among the most lucrative for the city's shops as they make up 25% of the entire weeks trade.
Retailers have told UTV they feel forced to open on a Saturday, despite their reservations about the number of customers they may have, because they cannot afford to miss a whole day's takings.
Martin Quinn, who has been running his Belfast barber shop for 40 years, said: "I feel business will be bad because a lot of my customers will be nervous coming into the streets, but Saturday is my main day
"Already they have been in asking me will you be open on Saturday. I can't afford to lose the work," he added.
Hugh Black, centre manager, Victoria Square said: "The Covenant Parade will have an impact on the footfall into the city centre.
"The last Saturday of the month is traditionally one of our busiest days and this will undoubtedly have an impact on trade.
"We hope that disruption will be minimal and would encourage the public that Belfast city centre, and Victoria Square is very much open for business.
"I think we will drop quite a bit on what would be a normal Saturday. We may pick it up on Sunday, but that would be a hope and a wish," he added.
Earlier this month, city centre retail representatives met with the Parades Commission in the hope that the parade would clear the area by 1pm.
© UTV News