Friday, May 22, 2020

LAOIS gardaí have issued advice to local shops and businesses, as the first week of ‘phase one’ re-openings comes to a close.

As shoppers gratefully hit the streets, gardaí stress that all outlets must implement social distancing arrangements, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

A Laois-Offaly garda spokesperson said today: “It is important that business owners that are re-opening are aware of their responsibility to ensure physical distancing, while queuing outside and in-store takes place.”

Some local stores have installed protective canopies for people queuing in the rain, including Mulhall’s SuperValu in Portlaoise (pictured) where gardaí stopped off during a patrol of businesses in the town.

Gardaí are patrolling towns across the county, to ensure that shopkeepers and shoppers are keeping to the public health guidelines.

Gardaí say they are there to offer guidance and assistance to any customers and local businesses. Retailers must put measures in place in their stores to minimise the spread of infection among customers and staff.

These could include:

  • protective screens and barriers
  • operating new queueing approaches
  • limiting the number of customers and staff per store at any one time
  • providing cleaning stations
  • increasing store cleaning and hygiene
  • considering store layout to facilitate social distancing
  • extending opening hours to reduce crowding
  • implementing car park restrictions

Public health advice is that stores must be adequately prepared for the return of employees and customers. Measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 (hand hygiene, good respiratory etiquette, social distancing, wearing of face coverings) should be communicated to all staff. Cleaning schedules, waste disposal arrangements, arrangements to encourage social distancing between workers and alternative arrangements, where social distancing is not always possible, should be implemented. Anyone feeling sick should stay at home and not go to work.

Additional retailers have reopened this week and must implement social distancing arrangements in their premises, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Retail outlets that have reopened include:

*Retail outlets that are primarily outdoor, such as garden centres, farmer’s markets and hardware stores

*Opticians and optometrists, outlets providing hearing test services, selling hearing aids and appliances

*Sale, supply and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycle repair and related facilities

*Hardware stores, builders’ merchants and stores that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies and tools essential for gardening, farming and agriculture

*Retail sale of office products and services for people working from home and for businesses

*Retailers providing electrical, IT and phone sales, repair and maintenance services for home and businesses

If you have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, you should stay at home and not go to work.

Retailers are advised to engage with official authorities as they reopen and to consult with public health authorities, on ways to minimise the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak in their stores.



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