Business leaders and owners have moved to allay fears over Irish citizens crossing the border into Northern Ireland to take advantage of the incoming loosening of Covid regulations.
The Executive released details of the latest phase of lockdown relaxations on Thursday.
From Friday, close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen, while all remaining non-essential retail can welcome back customers seven days later. Licensed and unlicensed premises will also be able to serve customers in outdoor settings.
From May 24, the hospitality sector will be allowed to serve food and drink indoors.
The successful rollout of the vaccination programme has allowed the Executive to begin easing Covid-19 restrictions.
The Irish government, meanwhile, is yet to announce any further phased reopening.
Emma Marmion, the president of Newry's Chamber of Commerce, said the city's business community had invested heavily over the past 14 months to make sure that it can deliver its services in a safe manner, rather than focusing on where customers were coming from.
"The business community is delighted to reopen and get the indicative dates to work towards," she added.
"We will be looking forward to the vaccination programme in Ireland being rolled out, as it is here, over the next couple of weeks and months.
"Businesses have been heavily investing in preparing their shops for quite some time.
"They have heavily invested not only for their staff, but also for their customers and their community.
"The business community has taken their responsibility really seriously.
"If anything, they're not so much focusing on where the people are coming from, as opposed to ensuring that their businesses are fit and ready to be opened safely."
Newry, Mourne and Down SDLP councillor Karen McKevitt said several business owners had expressed concerns to her regarding shoppers crossing the border.
She reminded people to stick to the safety guidelines.
"Businesses here, particularly in Newry, need a boost after a really tough 14 months," Ms McKevitt said.
"Where the customers are coming from shouldn't really matter to businesses if they're following the guidelines to wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance."
Paul Clancy, the CEO of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, emphasised the importance of sticking to the safety guidelines when the shops reopen and said the public should assume that the virus is still out there.
"People really need to respect the social distancing rules and keep that good practice that people have adhered to, particularly in retail," he added.
"It's really important that we don't get another rise in infection rates because we want to be sure that we get that May 24 reopening for hospitality.
"If we don't do it right, that puts that indicative date at risk. We don't want that."
Londonderry Alliance councillor Philip McKinney said: "Whilst we must welcome the reopening of retail in Derry-Londonderry and across Northern Ireland, everyone - customers, staff and others - must remember to follow the advice, no matter which side of the border they come from.
"Like other border areas, we rely here on a lot of cross-border trade, so while that must be encouraged, it can only be when it is allowed and safe to do so."
Enniskillen councillor Howard Thornton said his town, like other areas close to the Republic, also relied on cross-border trade, but he hopes Ireland's vaccination programme can catch up with Northern Ireland's before May 24.
"Hopefully, their infection figures come down and match us in the not-too-distant future," the UUP councillor said.
"With Enniskillen being so close to the border and being dependent to a degree on that cross-border business, it's very important they catch up and we can have a degree of normality as Covid dictates."
Hairdresser Laura Dolan, who decided to move her business to her home in Raphoe, Co Donegal, after 20 years operating out of Strabane, now faces the prospect of losing her customers to rival salons across the border.
"I'm getting calls every day from customers in the north because we're so near the border here, asking if I'll be open," she said.
"And then there's a lot of confusion here as well. I've had customers saying that if they open up the north, we'll be open here too."
Brian Renaghan, of Renaghan's pub in Clontibret, Co Monaghan, admitted he expected things to be "very frustrating" when the hospitality sector reopens in Northern Ireland.
During the first lockdown, many of his customers made the short journey over the border to Derrynoose in Co Armagh.
"It wasn't deemed safe for them to drink in my pub, but it was fine for them to do it in the village a mile away," Mr Renaghan said.
He also warned that Ireland was in danger of losing traditional rural pubs like his, which was bought by his father in 1959 and which he describes as not only a business but "a service" for local communities.