AN appeal has been issued to the public to continue following public health guidelines if visiting Listowel for the seven-day festival of racing which gets underway on Sunday.
Although the meeting will be held behind closed doors, a big influx is expected and that has given cause for some concern in terms of social distancing and other Covid-19 related considerations.
Gardaí, HSE officials and Kerry County Council have urged anyone traveling to Listowel during the festival to follow guidelines in the continuing effort to flatten the curve of Covid-19.
Inspector John Ryan of the Listowel Garda District said they want everyone to enjoy themselves safely and while the public cannot attend the races, there will still be a significant policing operation in place for the duration of the festival.
“We would ask them to follow public health guidelines, respect the local residents and not to drink alcohol on the streets,” he said
“We will engage with the public with a view to implementing the guidelines in order to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on our community as a whole”.
Inspector Ryan said additional garda resources will be carrying out high visibility patrols and will respond quickly to reports of public order or gatherings.
“As more pubs are due to open during the festival, we will also be increasing our inspections of licenced premises under Operation Navigation,” he remarked.
“An Garda Síochána has always maintained a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce – the Listowel Racing Festival will be no different,” the inspector stated,.
Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer of Cork-Kerry Community Healthcare and chair of the HSE area crisis management team, said it can be all too easy for people to leave their guard down when celebrating.
“Unfortunately, we need to continue to limit our social contacts and stay apart. We must remember the devastating impact Covid-19 can have if it take hold in a community,” he remarked.
Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Michael Foley. encouraged anyone visiting during race week to observe behaviours in keeping with the public health guidelines.
“There is simply too much at stake currently to allow any relaxation or ignoring of social distancing and other public health advice,” he said.
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