Gardaí had to restrict access to the carpark at a popular Clare beach for a time this afternoon as hundreds descended on the area to take advantage of the fine weather.
Thousands of people have continued to flock to the country’s most popular beaches and national parks despite repeated calls for the public to observe strict COVID-19 social distancing advice.
In Co Clare, the local authority erected electronic signage in Lahinch and Kilkee to remind beach users of the importance of social distancing during the ongoing public health crisis.
Shortly after 2.40pm however, with the main carpark at Lahinch full of vehicles, Gardaí restricted vehicular access to the carpark. Gardaí redirected traffic away from the area advising motorists that the carpark area was full.
Hundreds off people walked the promenade at Lahinch while others flocked onto the beach and while there was evidence that some were observing social distancing advice, many others didn’t.
Clare Civil Defence volunteers were deployed to Lahinch and Kilkee where they engaged with members of the public to remind them of the importance of social distancing.
Lahinch hotelier and former president of the Irish Hotels Federation Michael Vaughan said: “I think it might be time to close the car parks at Lahinch and Kilkee. Social distancing is not being observed and the cumulative number of people congregating is a serious health risk to our communities.”
Members of the public are being asked to refer to HSE and Department of Health guidance on social distancing. Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.
Meanwhile, a meeting will take place on Tuesday to consider closing car parks at OPW parks across the country.
Wicklow County Council has shut the section of parking it's responsible for at Glendalough, in an attempt to assist social distancing measures.
Thousands have visited the area since the start of the crisis with criticism on social media of pictures of groups gathered around food stalls.
The Health Minister has welcomed the move - saying distancing is a core part of the country's strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19.
As people are not observing social distancing @wicklowcoco have closed the upper car park in Glendalough today. All food outlets will be closed and additional garda will be turning traffic away. #Wicklow #SocialDistance #glendalough #COVID19ireland #StayAtHome pic.twitter.com/sM3RR19WeR— Cllr Irene Winters (@IreneWinters) March 22, 2020