A publican has appealed to all social media users to be responsible when posting about Covid-19 after his business was wrongfully linked to a Coronavirus case.
Damien Clarke felt he had to write a notice of clarification after his pub P Clarke’s in Navan was the subject of rumours on WhatsApp and Facebook groups over a reported case of the virus in the county on Tuesday.
He believes that such unfounded rumours on social media could ruin small businesses already facing uncertainty in the current climate.
The post said: "We would like to put a stop to these vicious rumours currently circulating around social media and WhatsApp groups that a member of our staff has contracted Covid-19.
"This is entirely untrue. Not one of our members of staff has been in contact with anyone with the virus or travelled abroad in the last few months.
"Spreading vicious rumours around like this without a bit of evidence can massively affect a local business like us. Please think before you write comments that can have a massive knock-on effect."
Damien said he was glad he posted the piece after he received huge feedback from the public.
"I was told by a number of people that there was talk of a Covid-19 case in P. Clarkes and I was sent screenshots of various WhatsApp and Facebook pages where it was mentioned and widely shared," he said. "I only have one full-time and a few part-time staff and none have left the country in months or been in contact with anyone infected. So how the rumour started is beyond me.
"These things get shared online like wildfire and then all of a sudden, people think there’s no smoke without fire and stop coming in. These posts can ruin businesses, especially Covid-19 which has people totally panicked."
He said while the pub remains busy, the cancellation of the last two rugby matches hasn’t helped and St Patrick’’s Day is normally one of the busiest days of the year.
"Now with the parades cancelled, we don’t know what to expect or what’s around the corner."
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999
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