EMPTY SHELVES: Shoppers are being advised not to “panic buy” as there’s plenty of stock with deliveries operating as normal. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

By Michelle Crean and Sean Moriarty 

Businesses experiencing shocking levels of cancellations and almost zero new bookings due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread will be helped – the Government yesterday (Thursday) said.

Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin sought the Government’s agreement for urgent assistance for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors – by seeking payment for holidays for businesses. They are also preparing to postpone payments to Revenue, banks and local authorities as a first step in stabilising the businesses until the crisis passes. They have also sought further Government support for the sector and have emphasised the need for urgency in order to protect businesses and to protect jobs. Minister Donohoe accepted the seriousness of the situation and the need for appropriate and urgent Government action and expects the Government will announce several measures very soon. 

Meanwhile, shoppers in Killarney who began “panic buying” in recent days are advised that there’s plenty of stock available. Supermarkets have said that they have been stockpiling for months because of Brexit so there’s plenty of backup foods and deliveries are coming in as normal. 

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Businesses in Killarney are taking every precaution necessary to prevent the spread of the disease and want people to know the town is open for business. 

Yesterday morning, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar closed all schools and forced sports organisers to cancel all events until the end of March.

However, he said shops should remain open and public transport will continue to operate. 

“While obviously very conscious of the international and nationwide public health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, a crisis unprecedented in modern times, Killarney remains very much open for business,” Paul Sherry, President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, told the Killarney Advertiser. 

Mr Sherry added that his primary concern for everybody in Killarney is the health and safety of customers, both visitors and locals, as well as employees and suppliers, and that will always remain the case.

“The Chamber wishes to assure the public that every precaution is being taken in relation to hygiene control in all premises and management and staff are adhering rigidly to HSE advice regarding regular handwashing techniques, premises cleanliness and the provision of hand sanitiser for use by all.”