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Closures and postponements affecting all areas

Wednesday, 18th March, 2020 1:09pm

It’s been a week of temporary closures and postponed events since the Government introduced measures to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

Sporting events across the country were cancelled with Cork City Council also making the decision this week to postponed this year’s Cork City Marathon, which was due to take place on 31 May.

Adrienne Rodgers, Race Director and Director of Services at Cork City Council, said: “The priority for us right now is to do everything we can do to keep you and your families safe.”

Participants who have already entered will be automatically deferred to the rescheduled date.

Closed

All pubs, including hotel bars have been asked to stay close until 29 March as have colleges, schools and childcare facilities. No more than 100 people can gather at indoor events while outside events can allow for 500 people.

Events

This summer’s International Mixed Ability Rugby World Tournament has been postponed until summer 2021. With more than 1,000 players from 14 countries due to compete on Leeside this June for the tournament, the organisers felt this was the most appropriate course of action to protect the health and safety of our players and supporters.

Meanwhile, Darkness Into Light, the annual fundraising event for suicide prevention charity Pieta, has been postponed until the autumn due the outbreak.

More than 250,000 people were expected to come together in the pre-dawn hours of 9 May in almost 20 countries worldwide, but the charity has taken the decision to postpone the event until autumn.

CEO Elaine Austin said: “While the decision to postpone this year’s event was difficult, the safety of local committees, fundraisers and the thousands of people who gather together to participate in Darkness Into Light is our highest priority. The event will indeed take place, but at a more appropriate time when the threat of the coronavirus has passed. We are assessing an autumn date and will confirm this as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Cork International Choral Festival has also been cancelled. The Board of the Cork International Choral Festival said it is very conscious that this decision will impact more than 5,000 choir members who would have been participating in the festival, 800 of whom were travelling from abroad.

“These choirs have been involved in a year long process of planning and preparation with the festival, and we are particularly conscious of the large financial implications for the foreign choristers who were travelling to the festival from Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and USA,” said the board.

Trócaire has also taken the decision to cancel all public outreach activities in Cork and nationwide during the development agency’s Lenten Appeal.

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said: “Each year, our teams travel all over Ireland throughout Lent to deliver talks, exhibitions and other events aimed at highlighting our campaign and raising the funds needed to help millions of people around the world. This is a vital time of year for Trócaire’s fundraising, but the safety of our supporters, volunteers and staff comes first.”

Continued on page 4

Ms de Barra continued: “In light of the risk posed by Covid-19, we believe it is the responsible decision to cancel these events this year.” The charity has also taken a number of other steps to help in the fight to stop the spread of the virus, including cancelling all but essential travel from Ireland to our programmes overseas.

Blarney Stone

For the first time in history, kissing the Blarney Stone has been suspended for the foreseeable future. After discussions last Friday morning, the decision was made to suspend the world-famous practice of getting the 'gift of the gab’.

Hospital restrictions

Between now and 29 March, Mercy University Hospital has instigated severe reductions in activity. All out-patients appointments were cancelled from Monday 16 March as were all elective surgeries. All day case procedures, inclusive of endoscopic and pain procedures were cancelled with effect from Monday, too.

Management are urging the public not to attend the hospital unless contacted by the hospital and provided with a specific appointment.

Meanwhile CUH has reduced and rescheduled outpatient appointments up to at least 29 March, too. However the following services will not be impacted and patients are to attend as per their appointments:

• Dialysis

• Dressing clinic

• Warfarin clinic

• Endoscopy

• Cystic Fibrosis

• Infusions

• Radiology

• Hepatology

• Gastroenterology

• Therapies: Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Dietetics, Speech and Language

• All regional cancer centre appointments in the Glandore and Orchid Centre

• EEG/EMG

• Cardiology Diagnostics

• Ophthalmology outpatients

All other appointments are being rescheduled, unless patients are directly contacted by the hospital to attend their scheduled appointment.

Surgeries will proceed as normal unless patients are contacted by the hospital and advised otherwise. Visiting restrictions remain throughout the hospital.

 

Garda response

An Garda Síochána is putting in place a number of measures to maximise our operational availability and support other vital public services including:

• A contingency roster came into effect on Monday.

• Annual leave for personnel was restricted to no more than five per cent of a divisional workforce at any given time. This came into effect on 13 March.

• 325 garda students in the Garda College in Templemore will be attested as garda members this week and allocated to garda stations nationally in the coming weeks.

• Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College will be deployed to operational duties or essential training services.

• Training in the Garda College was deferred until further notice expect for specialist training activity like firearms, driver, armed support.

• In order to enhance community support, 210 additional vehicles have been hired.

• Members of An Garda Síochána who were scheduled to avail of the severance package on 1 April 2020 have been invited to defer their retirement for three months.

Driving tests

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has suspended driving tests until 29 March.

Those who have a driving test scheduled during this period will have the test rescheduled free of charge and we will be directly in contact with candidates in the coming days.

There are exceptional circumstances like emergency and essential service drivers who need a driving test and reasonable efforts are being made to accommodate these tests.

County Hall

Cork Motor Tax Office is closed but the online service, motortax.ie, will continue to operate, as will the postal service at Motor Tax Postal, Model Business Park, Model Farm Road, Cork. Queries will also continue to be taken by phone at 021-4544566 or by email at motortax@corkcoco.ie.

Cork County Council Payments Office in Mallow, Clonakilty and Cork County Hall will be open while access to other services is restricted to appointment only. Over 120 council services can be accessed online.

City Hall

Cork City Council public offices remain open but access to the complex is limited to the Anglesea Street entrance.

Continued on page 6

 

Cork City FC

All footballing activities have been suspended until 29 March. Further details around this and other fixtures will be confirmed in due course.

An Post

An Post and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) are working closely on measures to help customers.

The majority of post offices will open from 8am tomorrow, 20 March to facilitate old age pensioners who wish to do business ahead of other customers.

Customers impacted by Covid-19 may nominate a temporary agent to act on their behalf by completing, in advance, a form available at post offices and online at anpost.com/tempagent.

Post offices have introduced social distancing and staff will capture customer details directly, avoiding the need for customers to handle counter equipment such as signing pads and pens.

Customers are also no longer being asked to sign for mail deliveries requiring signature, rather the postperson will sign to confirm the delivery in the presence of the customer.

Catholic Church

All non-essential pastoral gatherings and meetings, such as formation gatherings, retreats and seminars are cancelled.

All confirmations are postponed until further notice.

Attendance at funeral services and masses should be limited to close relatives and must not exceed 100 attendees within the church building.

Similarly, church weddings and baptisms may be celebrated on condition that the attendance in church does not exceed 100 people.

The following buildings are closed until 30 March:

• All branches of Cork City Council libraries

• Cork City and County Archives

• Cork Public Museum at Fitzgerald’s Park

• St Peter’s on North Main Street

• Elizabeth Fort

 

Tourist attractions closed until at least 29 March include:

• Camden Fort Meagher

• Spike Island

• Kinsale Museum

• Youghal Lighthouse

• Youghal Clock Gate Tower

• Cobh Heritage Centre

• St Mary’s Collegiate Church

• Bridgetown Abbey, Castletownroche

• Mallow Castle

• Michael Collins House

• Dursey Island Cable Car

• Skibbereen Heritage Centre

• Council operated swimming pools in Mallow, Fermoy and Dunmanway

• Cork County Council owned playgrounds have been closed where possible

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