Coronavirus and social distancing requirements have spelt the end of an ice-cream bought on the beach at Bettystown Co Meath for Summer 2020.
The decision not to allow casual trading is on foot of a decision not to allow cars and other general vehicles onto the beach, "at least until social distancing is no longer advised by public health officials," according to the council.
One company impacted by not being able to trade on the beach is Smith’s Ice Cream.
They wrote a hard hitting letter to councillors expressing their frustration especially as they are allowed to sell from their vans in housing estates.
“It will have a devastating effect on our business in an already very challenging year,” said Caroline and Gerard Smith of Smith’s Ice Cream.
The family run business has asked the council to reconsider the decision and said that Covid-19, “resulted in the loss of 3 months trading, the loss of all our festivals, events, and private bookings such as weddings and communions.”
We had envisaged that the chance to trade on Bettystown beach over the summer months, as we have done so for over 40 years, would assist us in sustaining our business in our effort to keep it afloat.
“However, this decision will prevent us from this opportunity, causing not only loss of revenue, but loss of jobs and possibly the loss of our ability to survive the current challenging times we are all facing,” they added.
The company says it is in Fingal where the council “has issued notification that they will be permitting Casual Trading on all their beaches, Donabate, Portmarnock, Malahide, Rush, Lusk and Skerries this year, commencing July 13.”
Caroline said, “our customers spend only a couple of minutes at the window of our van while being outside in the open air making our business low risk in relation to Covid-19.”
Cllr Paddy Meade has said he will be submitting a motion for the next meeting of Meath county council asking for casual trading to be reinstated.
In a statement Meath County Council said: "The Members of the Council at the July meeting agreed to accept a recommendation from the Environment Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) that in order to protect public health, and assist with ensuring public health guidelines can be followed, to prohibit general vehicle access to Meath beaches, at least until social distancing is no longer advised by public health officials.
"‘It was also agreed to facilitate limited parking (10/ 12 spaces) to cater for disabled /age friendly vehicles on the southern side of the main entrance to the beach and that the operation of this approach be monitored over the coming months and considered further at the September SPC meeting."
"On this basis it has been decided not to extend the invitation for trading concessions on Bettystown Beach for the summer of 2020 but subject to improved circumstances consideration will be given for such concessions next year and as part of any revised parking arrangements which may be in place at that stage."