Garda warning to holiday homeowners in Covid-19 Easter message

Travel and other restrictions will be enforced

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Covid-19  coronavirus

Laois Garda checkpoint in Portlaoise during the first lockdown

Gardai will be mounting Covid-19 checkpoints this Easer weekend and they have warned the public not to attempt to visit their holiday homes or attend religious services because Covid-19 restrictions still apply and will be enforced by guards around Ireland.
 
Gardaí issued the warning in an appeal to the public to reduce social contacts this Easter weekend to further reduce the current impact of Covid-19 on our society. 

Gardaí say that as citizens, with families, relatives and friends, they understand the impact on the community in sticking with the Covid-19 Public Health Regulations and Guidelines.
 
They add that there is overwhelming public compliance with and support for the current Public Health Regulations and Guidelines.
They continue to urge the public to maintain this high level of compliance; staying home and reducing social contacts is keeping people safe.
 
The Gardai say the current Public Health Regulations remain in place over the Easter weekend.
 
They say these regulations provide for travel restrictions outside a person’s place of residence except for a reasonable excuse or necessary journey. 
 
Gardai say travel to second/holiday homes, family gatherings, religious services etc... are not provided for as a ‘reasonable excuse’ in the regulations.
 
"Persons found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations can be subject to a fine of €100," warn Gardai.
 
In response to the current high levels of Covid-19 infection in the community, gardaí say they have and will continue to implement checkpoints across the road network to support Government Public Health Regulations over the coming Easter period. They say these checkpoints further support ongoing Road Safety campaigns. 
 
"An Garda Síochána appeals to motorists to slow down on approach to checkpoints, please follow the signals and directional signs and cooperate with members of An Garda Síochána. 
 
"An Garda Síochána will continue high visibility patrolling at public amenities.  It is important that people avail of fresh air and enjoy their time off over the weekend.
 
 "Please do so in accordance with Public Health Regulations and follow the guidelines on social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing your hands. If a public amenity appears to be crowded, please change your plans and revisit at a different time.
 
"When visiting public amenities for outdoor exercise within 5km of your home please park legally. Illegal parking can hinder access by emergency services and could put lives at risk. As has been the case previously, people who illegally park are at risk of having their cars towed and impounded.
 
"An Garda Síochána appeals to the public not to arrange or attend house parties or gatherings over this weekend.  These events put not just those attending, but everyone they meet afterwards, at risk of catching COVID-19. Persons organising and attending house gatherings can be subject to a fine of €500 for organising and a fine of €150 for attending these events" said a statement.
 
Gardaí say they have continued to use its 4Es approach – engage, explain, and encourage with enforcement a last resort. They say any Garda activity in relation to evolving events is in line with this graduated policing response taking into account public health regulations and advice.
 
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, Anne Marie McMahon said:

"An Garda Síochána is acutely aware the impact of Covid-19 is having on the communities that we live in.  Public Health regulations are in place for the protection of the most vulnerable in our society. 
 
"I appeal to everyone to make that extra effort this Easter weekend to comply with the Regulations, which remain in place. Your actions this weekend could protect a loved family member or dear friend.
 
"We are here to help and support our communities and the most vulnerable citizens.  If you know of someone or suspect someone needs support during this time, please contact your local Garda station,” she said.
 
Gardaí remind persons subject to domestic violence - Travel restrictions  DO NOT APPLY in the case of domestic violence or to escape a risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person.
 
They appeal to any person who may have been the victim of an incident of sexual or domestic crime irrespective of whether you may have been on breach of any public health regulations, for instance by attending a house party, An Garda Síochána is here to assist and support you, please report all such incidents.