COMMUNITIES across Laois are mobilising in large numbers to assist the elderly, the frail and those with immune deficiency as the county faces the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
While parts of the country may be in virtual lockdown, many clubs, organisations and individuals in Laois have come together in an effort to bring provisions, essentials and medicines to those who feel they cannot get out.
One such group is Portarlington Meals on Wheels. They are continuing to cook and deliver over 50 meals a day three days a week and vow that they will do so “for as long as is humanly possible”.
The people for whom they provide this service are asked to leave a container outside their door so the delivery person does not need to make contact with them.
In Rathdowney, local man Adrian Deegan has offered to pick up essentials and deliver them to the doorsteps of people who are unable to leave their homes.
Members of many sporting organisations around Laois such as the Lions Soccer Club in Durrow have also offered to pick up and deliver goods and provisions in the surrounding areas, as have members of St Joseph’s GAA Club to people in the Ballyadams, Luggacurren, The Swan and Wolfhill districts.
The community solidarity continues in Mountmellick with volunteers from the local Covid-19 community response team,w who carried out disinfection sessions on every traffic light and pedestrian crossing pole, door handles of shops, public tables and benches, ATM machines, parking meters and information signs. They even wiped down every bin around the town. That was along with deliveries to many elderly and frail people in and around the town.
While public houses, restaurants, theatres, nightclubs and takeaways have closed their doors, the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel is offering a drive-thru ready-prepared meals takeaway service, with the menu changing on a daily basis.
In Portlaoise, the SuperValu Parkside store is opening its doors from 7am to 8am to allow elderly and more vulnerable people in the community do their shopping, which they said: “will allow them to get the few bits they need quickly and get back home safely”.
In the interest of fairness, many other major retail outlets in the county are now enforcing strict social distancing policies and have begun the introduction of quotas, limiting the amount of goods people can buy at any one time.
All essential services such as hospitals, ambulances, the fire service, gardaí, electricity, water and public transport are continuing to operate.
The HSE is providing regular advice and updates on Covid-19 online at hpsc.ie