AS COUNTRIES around the world continue to try to stem the coronavirus outbreak, the impact on the local community across the Southside has been far-reaching and unprecedented.
Following guidelines issued by the Department of Health in the interest of public safety, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council issued an update on services that will be affected up to March 29.
For the duration of this period all dlr Libraries will be closed to the public and events held inside library buildings during this time will be cancelled.
This includes the popular Mountains to Sea Festival for 2020 and all dlr Heritage events and dlr Parks events.
The dlr CoCo Markets in People’s Park and Marlay Park are cancelled although all local parks will remain open.
Aside from libraries, all council public buildings will remain open, including County Hall in Dún Laoghaire, the Dundrum offices and recycling centres until further notice.
“The above information will be subject to change as the situation evolves with the Covid-19 outbreak,” the council added in a statement. “The council advises all citizens to stay in touch with latest updates on our website and social media channels.”
Dublin City Council issued a similar advisory, stating that all services are closing to the public until at least March 29.
This includes all Dublin City Council Libraries, Dublin City Council-run Sports, Leisure, and Community Centres, The Hugh Lane Gallery, Motor Tax Office (except by prior appointment), Richmond Barracks in Inchicore, City Hall (except for private events and the cafe) and the Lab on Foley Street.
All other offices and facilities will remain open, including the Civic Offices, all Area Offices, the DRHE offices on Parkgate Street, parks, Bring Centres and Recycling Centres.
Schools, of course, across the Southside have adhered to the announcement made by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that all educational facilities would close for a period until March 29 to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Sporting events have also been significantly affected with the GAA announcing the suspension of all activities for its member organisations until March 29.
There has been an almost instant impact on local businesses, restaurants and bars, with the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) “noting with regret” that Rathgar Travel had ceased trading.
The Restaurants Association which has members across the Southside also urged businesses to fully comply with Covid-19 safety measures.
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “While the financial loss to restaurants and local businesses will be huge this St Patrick’s Day, the Restaurants Association of Ireland fully supports the Government’s decision to cancel all parades in the interest of public safety.
“However, the losses to restaurants and the hospitality sector need to be taken into consideration by the Government. We are demanding that the Government immediately implement emergency business supports to prevent closures and job losses.”
Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin said they had sought the Government’s agreement for urgent assistance for the Tourism and Hospitality and Leisure sectors in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
Following the cancellation of the main St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, other smaller gatherings were postponed.
This includes the 2020 Clondalkin Patrick’s Day Parade.
Cllr Francis Timmons said: “Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the risk to public health, the 2020 Clondalkin Patrick’s Day Parade has to be postponed until further notice. We know a lot of people will be disappointed by this decision but we must put public health first.”
And while continuing to operate as usual, with all stores open, the management of The Square Tallaght decided to cancel their programme of Special Events in the short term including a Family Fun Day due to take place on Friday (March 14).
Other events that have been affected include Saint John of God Hospital’s annual Public Lecture Series that has been put back until the Autumn while the St Patrick’s Day Dalkey Island Swim to raise funds for the RNLI has also been postponed.
Aware and Dublin Port Company have also decided to postpone the annual St Patrick’s Day Harbour2Harbour fundraising walk, including the ‘Halfway Hooley’ at Dublin Port.
The event, which last year attracted over 1,800 participants, will be rescheduled for a later date in the Autumn.
A Save The Bees launch event in Trinity this week has been cancelled, while Coillte in partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland has made the decision to postpone National Tree Week 2020 and all related public events until further notice.
Meanwhile, bizarre scenes at Tesco’s Bloomfields store in Dún Laoghaire showing shoppers queuing just to get in, prompted FTA Ireland to reassure the public that the nation’s supply chain is resilient and there is no need to stockpile items.