Schools and colleges to close as Covid-19 precautions kick in

Events cancelled across the county and country

The battle to contain the Covid-19 virus has seen the Government close all schools, colleges and childcare facilities from today, Thursday, March 12 until Sunday, March 29, following recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

The announcement was made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Washington DC where he was visiting as part of the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

It was also announced that in relation to cultural institutions, indoor gatherings of more than 100 people will not be permitted and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people will not be allowed. The Taoiseach also urged people to work remotely where possible and said that the public and businesses needed to take a sensible approach.

The effects of the virus had already been seen in Mayo this week with the cancellations of the St Patrick's Day parades in a number of locations, including the three biggest parades in the county in Castlebar, Westport and Ballina.

Mayo County Council also announced during the week that it would not be sending delegations to the United States to partake in planned St Patrick's Day festivities in New York and Phildelphia.

The council issued a update on supply of their services saying: "As a result of measures announced earlier today by the Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Mayo County Council have taken the following actions.

"All Libraries, Art centres, Museums and Community facilities operated by Mayo County Council will close to the public this evening with effect from 6pm. At this time Leisure Centres remain open.

"The day-to-day running of all other services of Mayo County Council remains unaffected at this time. We will continue to work to put measures in place which will allow for contingency should our level of service be affected in the days and weeks ahead.

 "The management team of Mayo County Council have been meeting on a daily basis in relation to the COVID-19 issue and will continue to meet daily as the situation evolves.

 "We endeavour to keep the public updated with any disruption to our services through local media and Mayo County Council media channels.

 "We would encourage the public to follow the guidance issued by our health professionals in relation to COVID-19. In addition, we would encourage the public to watch out for each other particularly the vulnerable in our society.

Visiting restrictions had been put in place in all Saolta Group Hospitals including Mayo University Hospital as a precaution last week and those remain in place.

The Mayo Roscommon Hospice also issued a statement saying that: "We are currently in unprecedented times due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the directions issued from Government this morning.

"Because of the directives and in order to keep our staff, volunteers and donors safe, Mayo Roscommon Hospice shops throughout the two counties will be closing from this evening (March 12th ) until March 29th.

"The following fundraising events have also been postponed or cancelled: (1 ) The Mad Hatters Tea Party scheduled for the Trinity Arts Centre in Castlerea has been postponed until later in the summer., (2 ) The Cian Coleman Colour run due to take place in Claremorris on Sunday March 22 has also been postponed until a later date; (3 )  Break Out for Hospice – due to take place in Castlerea on Saturday April 11 has also been postponed, (4 )The Summer Ladies Lunch, scheduled for Sunday April 26 at The Lodge at Ashford Castle has been cancelled for this year

"Due to the cancellation of Public Masses, all Churchgate collections for March are cancelled. Please keep our palliative care teams and frontline staff in mind during this time. They will be to the fore when it comes to dealing with the situation.

"Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation remains fully committed to funding our palliative care service and building our Roscommon Hospice but due to these developments a considerable strain will be placed on our fundraising efforts. We receive no Government funding, so your help and support during this time is vital.

 "We are asking people to text MRHF to 50300 at a cost of €4, where a minimum of €3.60 goes to Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, or donate online on and help us to keep helping the most vulnerable in our society in their time of need.

The GAA also called off all their activities until the end of the month at least in a statement issued jointly by the GAA, LGFA and the Camogie association they said: "In light of this morning’s Government announcement, the GAA, An Cumann Camógaíochta and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association have decided to suspend all activity at club, inter-county and educational levels until March 29 (inclusive ) from midnight.

"This is to include all games, training and team gatherings at all ages and all grades. We will continue to liaise with Government officials and review the situation between now and the end of the month, assessing the impact of these measures on our competitions. 

"In the meantime, the Association is encouraging all members to continue to follow the guidelines which have been provided by the health authorities."

The Mayo League also postponed the start of the new soccer season in the county which was due to get underway this weekend.


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