Garda warning to minority who are breaking Covid-19 rules and appeal to everybody to #StayHome this weekend

Leinster Express Reporter

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An Garda Síochána appeals to people to Stay Home this weekend

Garda Checkoint in Portlaoise

Gardaí say they have seen overwhelming public support for Public Health Guidelines and Regulations had have warned a minority who are not complying with the laws designed to save lives at risk of Covid-19 infection.

Gardaí say the small number of people who are not complying are put everybody’s health at risk which they add impacts on individuals and our society.

This weekend the police say they will continue to support the effort against Covid-19 by enforcing the Public Health Regulations and other relevant legislation where appropriate.

They reminded people of that Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force. They say this states that ‘an applicable person shall not leave his or her place of residence without reasonable excuse’ and that this is enforceable with a penalty.

Speaking today Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Policing and Security said people cannot relax.

"Throughout this pandemic, the vast majority of people have been compliant with public health advice. We thank them for that. We know this hasn’t been easy and has involved great sacrifices.

"However, as we all know, Covid-19 doesn’t relax. It doesn’t take weekends off. We are asking people to remember this as they plan their weekend so they can enjoy it while protecting themselves and others.

"Exercise within 5km of your home. If you are doing this in a place that is getting crowded then leave. Minimise your contacts. Only take essential journeys. Maintain social distancing. Wash your hands.

"When visiting amenities within 5km of your home park legally. Illegal parking can hinder access by emergency services and could put lives at risk. As we saw last weekend, people who illegally park are at risk of having their cars towed and impounded,” he said.

The guards say travel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape the risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person.  Victims of domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, will continue to receive the highest priority response for service under Operation Faoiseamh.

If you are a victim of abuse or you know of a family member or friend who is a victim of such abuse, Gardaí say that information is important and they ask that you make contact with An Garda Síochána. If you require urgent assistance or support, please call 999 or 112.

If you are unable to make phone contact people are asked to approach any member Garda on duty, on patrol, on a checkpoint and look for assistance.

The Gardaí say they continue to adopt the approach of 4Es Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce in engaging with the public. However, they add that they can and will, issue Fixed Payment Notices for breaches of Covid-19 Public Health regulations where appropriate to do so.

A statement said the force is committed to working with our communities to help and support those vulnerable or isolated at this time.  If you need help or know someone who does, please contact your local Garda station