Covid-19: Public asked to shop alone at off-peak times over Christmas period

Covid-19: Public asked to shop alone at off-peak times over Christmas period

Shoppers in Cork city centre this weekend. Picture: Damian Coleman

The Government has asked Christmas shoppers to do their shopping alone and at off-peak times amid ongoing concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

The Government’s Regulators Forum - made up of different Government departments, agencies and other bodies - met yesterday. 

Overall, the group reported a high level of compliance with the latest public heath measures.

The forum is made up of representatives from the Health and Safety Authority, the Environmental Health Service of the HSE, the Workplace Relations Commission, the Veterinary Inspectorate of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the Schools Inspectorate of the Department of Education, Tusla, the County and City Management Association, Fáilte Ireland, and an An Garda Síochána.

However, a number of potential issues were raised.

Shopping was highlighted as being an area of particular concern, given the likelihood increased crowds on Irish high streets over the next few weeks.

In a statement, the Government has reminded the public to wear face masks or coverings in public areas - including in busy outdoor spaces such as main streets or in queues.

Irish businesses have been reminded that no organised indoor gatherings are currently permitted to take place. 

Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants have again been informed not to organise any events on their premises.

Sporting events were also highlighted as an issue during the forum.

As this weekend is a busy one for GAA and other sporting organisations, fans and those in the hospitality sector have been called upon to fully adhere to the latest public health guidelines.

The Government also says that a high level of inspections on businesses will continue over the coming days.

Since the beginning of restrictions, over 22,000 inspections have been carried out the inspectorates of the Health and Safety Authority, Workplace Relations Commission, Environmental Health Service, the Veterinary Inspectorate, the Schools Inspectorate, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, and Tusla.

An Garda Síochána will also be continuing their compliance work over the weekend. High-visibility patrols will continue, as will checks of licensed premises under Operation Navigation.

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