People urged to do Christmas shopping alone, at off-peak times, wearing masks

Government concerned about people shopping and sports events

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street in one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street in one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

People have been urged by the Government to do their Christmas shopping at off-peak times and on their own amid continued concern around the spread of coronavirus.

The Government’s Regulators’ Forum met on Friday and heard reports of high levels of compliance to date in businesses and organisations that have been inspected.

The forum is made up of Government departments, agencies and other bodies involved in compliance and enforcement of Covid-19 public health guidance and regulations

It includes 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,

In a statement on Saturday morning it said a high level of inspections would be continuing in the days ahead and the Garda would be continuing its compliance work “with high visibility patrols over the weekend, and the carrying out of checks of licensed premises under Operation Navigation.”

The statement added that while the high level of compliance was welcomed, a number of “issues of concern” were raised including around Saturday’s All-Ireland camogie final, Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final and Christmas shopping activity.

“Ahead of a high profile weekend of sport, in particular for the GAA, the importance of supporting your team in a safe way was highlighted - fans and the hospitality sector are called upon to fully respect public health guidance,” it said.

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
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It said, where possible, “people are encouraged to shop at off-peak times, with many retailers having extended their opening hours to facilitate a safer shopping experience.

“Shoppers are also encouraged to shop individually where possible”.

It said people should wear face masks in public areas in cluding busy outdoor spaces such as shopping streets and in queues.

“Businesses are reminded that no organised indoor gatherings should take place. This means that restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants should not organise any events in their premises.”

Intensive care

The number of people in ICU with Covid-19 has crept up in recent days and was at 35 on Saturday morning, and in crease of one since Friday night, with 190 people in hospital with the virus, an increase of three from last night.

On Friday night, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan urged people to take responsibility for their own safety with activity ramping-up ahead of Christmas, as a further 313 cases and three deaths were reported.

Dr Holohan stressed the importance of individuals recognising the risks they find themselves exposed to. In it’s daily statement on Friday, the Department of Health said there has been a total of 75,507 confirmed cases of the disease and 2,120 related deaths since the pandemic reached Ireland.

Of the latest 313 cases, there were 70 in Dublin, 31 in Mayo, 21 in Kilkenny, 19 in Donegal, 18 in Laois with the remaining 154 cases spread across 19 other counties. The median age of the cases was 35 years and 67 per cent were among under 45 years.

Three of the top five worst areas in the country for the 14-day incidence rate of coronavirus are in Co Donegal, with Carndonagh’s rate more than six times the national average, latest official data released on Thursday night shows.

The 14-day rate per 100,000 population is a useful measure of how the virus is spreading, and the Government tracks it across the country’s 166 local electoral areas. The 14-day rate across the Republic is 80.2 per 100,000 population.

The updated figures on the Government’s data hub show the Covid 19 incidence rate in Carndonagh at 518.7 per 100,000 population. The figure in the Inishowen town has more than doubled from last week (271.2) and is almost 6.5 times the national rate.