Don’t open window at checkpoint if going to Covid test, gardaí say

Meath gardaí issue appeal after series of encounters with unmasked drivers

A garda at a checkpoint on the Navan Road, Dublin on Thursday.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A garda at a checkpoint on the Navan Road, Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Gardaí are urging motorists who are stopped at checkpoints en route to Covid-19 testing centres not to roll down their windows and potentially spread the virus to members of the force.

Meath gardaí have expressed their concern after five unmasked drivers rolled down their windows to talk to gardaí at checkpoints near Ashbourne on Thursday morning while en route to the local Covid-19 testing centre.

The motorists had unwittingly failed to realise that they could be transmitting the virus to gardaí who approach their cars.

“Gardaí just want to raise awareness to motorists who are doing everything right otherwise and don’t realise the potential dangers of rolling down the window at checkpoints if they have symptoms of Covid-19,” said Meath Crime Prevention Officer Sgt Dean Kerins.

“These motorists are stopping at various checkpoints around the county on their way to Ashbourne. They are on their own in the car and so are not wearing their masks.

“They are rolling down the windows and saying ‘How are you garda, I’m just on my way to get a Covid-19 test.’

“Most of the time, they just want gardaí to know that they are out of their 5k limit because they have to be. However, by talking out the window without wearing a mask could potentially spread the virus onto the garda they are talking to.

“In the interests of public health, we are just asking those motorists on the way for testing that if they are stopped at a checkpoint, please just show your test notification on your phone through the car window.”

On its website, the HSE confirms this advice. It says anyone going to a test should bring their phone with them to the test centre.

“If a Garda stops you on your way to a test centre, show them the text message with your appointment information. Do not open your window. Hold your phone up to the window to show the garda your appointment details.”