Today's Kilkenny People
Concerns are mounting for public health as well as the knock-on effect to the local community from the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
There has not yet been a confirmed case of the virus in Kilkenny, but its effects are being increasingly felt. Events, including Kilkenny City’s St Patrick’s Day parade, the John Street carnival, and an open day at Evan’s Home are no longer going ahead — and the list is growing. There are fears now for any music, entertainment, or sporting events where large attendances are anticipated. St Luke's Hospital is closed to almost all but a few visitors.
Some of Kilkenny’s large employers, such as Glanbia Ireland, have taken precautionary measures, such as prohibiting site visits and restricting international travel. Others, such as VHI, have said they are actively monitoring the situation and awaiting updates from health authorities.
Kilkenny County Council has said it is taking steps to ensure its business continuity plan is effective, and key services such as water, sanitation, and the fire service are maintained if the crisis worsens. There is facility for some council staff to work remotely should the need arise .
Worries are also growing for smaller local and family-owned businesses. Restaurants and pubs are reporting cancellations and a decline in footfall as wary consumers eschew going out in favour of staying home.
Kilkenny Chamber, which represents many of these local businesses, has called for more supports, and now says that the cancellation of mass gatherings should be extended to include sporting and religious events.
Speculation is continuing over possible school closures in the coming days, although the Department of Education has said there is no such advice at this stage. Trinity College in Dublin has told students that all lectures will be online for now.
See this week's Kilkenny People for full coverage.