The business community in Killarney has welcomed and fully supports the decision to extend the Safe Streets plan until January 6, 2021.

 

The measures adopted by Kerry County Council, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been designed to provide a safer environment – particularly for vulnerable and older people – while at the same time supporting the reopening of local businesses.

Pedestrianisation has been implemented, footpaths have been significantly widened and several no parking and age friendly zones have been introduced and that has proved particularly beneficial given that the level of footfall experienced over the past two months was significantly higher than was originally envisaged.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said the Safe Streets plan will be even more beneficial when the visitor profile changes considerably in the coming weeks with a more mature clientele anticipated.

“With pubs due to reopen on September 21, and the Christmas season rapidly approaching, the streets of Killarney will become quite busy and space is required to facilitate social distancing guidelines,” Chamber President Paul Sherry said.

“We all need to band together going forward to ensure we take every necessary caution to counter the increase in COVID-19 cases reported throughout the country and we wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support Kerry County Council in its Safe Street work.”

Extensive recent research commissioned by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, in association with the Institute of Technology – the results of which will be released shortly – indicates that a significant majority of people in Killarney fully support the measures contained in the Safe Streets plan.

At a national level, worries have been voiced by public health officials about the spread of the virus and its potential to impact on society and business. Public health advice remains that people must maintain a two-metre social distance from others.

Kerry County Council has noted that in Killarney, Christmas shopping during December has traditionally seen a relatively high level of footfall so the proposal is to keep the Safe Streets plan in place until January 6.

Furthermore, given the high concentration of schools in Killarney town centre, the Council has held discussions with Bus Éireann and An Garda Síochána on Safe Streets measures that are required to manage the safe drop-off and collection of students.

The current public health advice from the Department of Health, with increasing numbers of confirmed COVID cases and with more community transmission, is that the requirement to provide for safe social distancing will remain for some considerable time.

“The Council considered it necessary to extend the current road closures in Killarney until next January to provide a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists,” Mr Sherry said.

“The impact of these closures, as well as the other measures put in place, are to be subject to further review and, in the meantime, Chamber fully supports the Safe Streets project.”