29 May 2022

OPINION: Youngsters walk through streets of Bagenalstown without a care in the world

It will be a miracle if we avoid a second wave of Covid-19 after drive around Carlow

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Scenes at Fairgreen Shopping Centre last weekend CREDIT: Alan O'Reilly

For most of the time, many parts of Carlow have been like ghost towns and villages.

Very few people were out during lockdown and rarely would you see a "cocooner".

Those who did so only ventured out for exercise or some shopping - which is still permitted for most people within the parameters of the public health guidelines. 

The problem seems to be that people are making the most of these opportunities to get out and are flocking to shops in their droves, especially at weekends.

While restrictions are still supposed to be fairly tight, a lot has changed. There is a lot of evidence that people are taking unnecessary risks. By doing so, they are putting their lives and the lives of others in danger.

A group of up to five youngsters, none of whom were physical distancing, could be seen in Bagenalstown this week as they meandered through the streets without a care in the world. 

A trip into Carlow Town last weekend revealed lengthy queues outside many of the major retail outlets in the town. 

A queue outside Tesco in Fairgreen Shopping Centre stretched all the way back to Sports Direct. 

While a drive-by of Dunnes Stores revealed a similar situation with more extremely long queues.

Now, while the physical distancing is to be welcomed as well as stores limiting the number of people allowed into shops at any one time, I can't help but feel that it will be a miracle if we avoid a second wave of Covid-19.

All DIY stores have re-opened and many people were waiting outside them as well - it seems tending to the needs of the garden or painting the spare room never seemed so urgent.

But some homeware stores in Carlow were open last weekend and it is my understanding that they should not have been. 

With no new coronavirus deaths reported on Monday and the number of positive cases being reported daily now well below one hundred, it's only natural for people to feel immune to the virus now. 

But it is still out there, it isn't going away anytime soon. 

With a scorcher of a Bank Holiday weekend on the horizon, it is difficult not to worry that the coronavirus will see another surge. 

The questions I ask myself are:

Who knows what is permitted anymore?

Do cocooners know their movements remain restricted?

Do business people know whether they can open or not?

Who polices our restrictions and new roadmap out of lockdown?

When will the second wave hit and will it be worse?


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