LIMERICK hurling supporters and local hospitality traders were today urged not to drop their guard against COVID-19 when supporting the county’s senior hurlers in Sunday’s All-Ireland Final as more than 1,000 cases of the virus were recorded on Shannonside over the past 14-days.
Public Health officials said that a surge in cases, particularly in Limerick, was a “cause for concern”, and they warned of the “risk off infection for people who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated if they engage in social activity that is outside public health guidelines this weekend”.
Public Health Mid West advised Limerick people not traveling to the match at Croke Park to avoid unnecessary social gatherings due to the threat posed by the “highly-transmissible Delta variant”.
Dr Marie Casey, a local specialist in public health medicine, warned that if social gatherings around the match are “not controlled this can turn into events which rapidly increase the number of cases in the community, as we had experienced last year”.
“The community in Limerick worked very hard to reduce the rates from the community outbreak in June and we would like to maintain this improvement. We are best protected when we are fully vaccinated and adhering to guidelines, so if you are socialising with friends and family this weekend, do so safely to limit the spread of COVID-19 in your community,” Dr Casey added.
There were 667 COVID-19 cases recorded in Limerick over the past 14 days, including 66 cases on August 16. An additional 40 confirmed cases were identified Monday along the border with Clare and North Tipperary.
“We are urging everyone attending household events, hospitality settings, and any indoor gathering to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask, and limit social contact in well-ventilated spaces,” said a spokesman for Public Health Mid West.
“We are also urging the hospitality sector to protect their staff and customers by confirming valid certificates of their patrons, and to avoid crowding both indoors and outdoors. Social settings and close contact within those facilitate infection, and continues to be a factor in community outbreaks in Limerick.”
The public health warning specifically includes a warning for people to “limit their post-match social activity Sunday evening” following the hurling final, which has a 3.30pm throw-in.
As the match involves fierce Munster rival’s Limerick and Cork, an extra jab off excitement has been injected into the build up in the Treaty City.
However, Limerick GAA Chairperson John Cregan, warned “when emotions run high we sometimes tend to drop our guard”.
“We must remember our obligation to protect ourselves and those around us from serious illness, and to that end can I appeal to all of our supporters to behave in a responsible manner, so to those who are attending and to all those who are making alternative arrangements to view the game, please listen to public health advice, observe all COVID-19 guidelines, and together we can ensure that this historic occasion will be both a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved,” Mr Cregan added.
Limerick’s Mayor, Cllr Daniel Butler noted: “Limerick GAA supporters are some of the best and most passionate in the country, but we must remember that we are still living with COVID-19 and I’m appealing to everyone to enjoy the match and celebrate the Limerick hurlers in a safe and responsible manner”.
Limerick Chief Superintendent, Gerry Roche, reiterated that “Covid-19 is still present within our communities and so we all must continue to be careful, the best way of supporting your county on the day, is by continuing to support public health guidelines”.