Shutters go down in towns

Shutters go down in towns

25 March 2020

THE people of the district have been given an unequivocal message this week to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus — stay at home.

A series of unprecedented measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night will see town centres deserted, with businesses having to comply with a stringent lockdown set to be in force for the foreseeable future as the battle against coronavirus enters a crucial new stage.

The sweeping measures aimed at preventing the spread of the disease are to be reviewed in three weeks’ time. Currently, people can only leave their homes for very limited purposes such as shopping for necessities and medicine.

Gatherings of more than two people have been banned apart from members of your own family. One form of exercise per day is also permitted, as is essential travel to work.

People must also obey new rules on social distancing and stay two metres apart, with the move coming after hundreds of people flocked to Newcastle, Murlough, Ballyhornan and other parts of the Lecale coastline last weekend.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies. Funerals will be allowed.

People across the district have been told that they must be at the heart of stopping the spread of the deadly virus and obey the restrictions that have been put in place. There is simply no excuse for not doing so. 

Every single person across the district can play their part in the fightback against a global pandemic. This is not a time to be irresponsible or foolish and what people are being asked to do is not a dress rehearsal.

In an address to the people of the district, Newry, Mourne and Down Council chairman Charlie Casey says the battle against the global coronavirus outbreak is a time of “huge concern”.

He admits that the coming months will be tough for everyone, especially those socially isolating, facing reductions in household income and all local businesses.

The chairman has also appealed to people to help medical experts stop the spread of the disease by being responsible and following Public Health Agency advice over the coming crucial weeks. 

“All of us must practice social distancing and stay at least two metres apart, if we have to leave the house,” he said.

“I particularly appeal to the young people in our district. Please do not congregate. Please stay at home. Please keep in touch via social media instead. The lives of so many people in our district depend on it.”

In the midst of the despair hanging over the district, the council chairman says he has been “uplifted” by the generous spirit of unity and the many examples of care and compassion which have seen communities across Newry, Mourne and Down come together.

He said that the district’s community spirit will be crucial in the weeks ahead to help keep people, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable.