A deserted O'Connell Street has become an all-too regular sight in recent weeks | PICTURE: MICHAEL COWHEY
GARDAI have set up checkpoints across Limerick to ensure people are observing the mandatory order to stay home.
Members of the force are also patrolling the streets in order to prevent the breach of the effective two-week lockdown ordered by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night.
More than 2,500 members of the force are on duty nationwide, and will be stopping people to make sure their journey is essential
Garda Commisioner Drew Harris said this morning that the force will have the power to issue public fines and prosecutions to those making non-essential journeys.
The streets of the city and county are largely empty this Saturday – but queues have been forming outside supermarkets.
Until Easter Sunday, April 12, people are being told to remain at home, apart from in certain exceptional cases. It’s in a bid to fight the coronavirus, which continues to rage across the country, with more than 2,100 cases confirmed as of last night.
People are only being allowed leave home for essential work, to buy food, or for certain vital reasons such as attending medical appointments. An effective curfew of two kilometres around your home place is also in place – apart from for the essential reasons outlined above.
Social family visits that are not for urgent care of children, the elderly or vulnerable people are not allowed, as society fights to slow down Covid-19.
At a briefing this Saturday, Mr Harris said: “The difficulty is there will be people in our society who will make poor choices. But there is a whole array of power given to members of An Garda Siochana to deal with this. We will receive the regulations very shortly then we will be in a position to enforce them.”
Elsewhere in the city, it was confirmed that the University of Limerick (UL) hospitals group has announced further restrictions of the Maternity Hospital will take effect from next week.
Visiting will be restricted to the partner or support persons of mothers in the labour ward only. There’s a strict limit of one visitor per patient.
Mr Harris also encouraged members of the public to report large groups of gatherings to the gardai, and said members of the force will be stopping individuals, asking them if their journey is essential.
An ID badge, and some form of description of what their work is may be requested.