COVID-19: Waterford gardai out in force to patrol local beauty spots this weekend
Waterford gardai will be out in force policing popular tourist destinations around the county over the coming days in an effort to prevent a repeat of the gatherings of last weekend.
With the arrival of the good weather, thousands of people from Waterford and the surrounding counties flock to popular spots such as the Promenade in Tramore, Coumshingaun and Mahon Falls in the Comeragh Mountains, Ardmore, Clonea and other beaches and strands on the Waterford coast.
In many instances, social distancing and coronavirus guidelines on crowds were flaunted which caused a huge backlash on social media.
A local Garda spokesperson told WaterfordNow.ie: “We will be actively and visible monitoring car parks at popular spots in an effort to avoid a repeat of last weekend.
“Last weekend we saw there were issues at places in county Waterford regarding social distancing and people all flocking to the same areas. We all saw the pictures of Tramore and the Comeraghs. This was repeated in many places around the country – Howth in Dublin, in county Clare, county Galway.
“An Garda Síochána have been granted new emergency powers in terms of gatherings, if we need them. We believe the social distancing message has gotten through to the public though and we will only have to use the new powers if absolutely necessary.
“Our members will be out monitoring these popular locations this weekend and will be making decisions as are needed and that could mean preventing access to carparks or these locations if they are full or the numbers arriving are too big,” the spokesperson added.
These words were echoed earlier today by Waterford’s Chief Superintendent, Padraig Dunne who said people will be turned away if car parks or locations are full and asked people to consider staying closer to their own homes when they want to venture outside.
Chief Supt Dunne told WLR: “I would love to get the message out to people that if you stay in your locality and if you do your walk in your own locality, you will keep your community safe.”