Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.32 9 Apr 2020


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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said he does not consider hardware stores and garden centres to be essential retail outlets.

Under the current coronavirus guidelines, all non-essential businesses have been told to close and people are being told to remain at home wherever possible.

A list of essential services published when the current restrictions were announced last month suggests hardware stores and gardening supply centres are permitted only to operate call-out or delivery services.

However, regulations signed earlier this week giving emergency powers to gardaí for this weekend list hardware stores among the essential retail outlets - alongside the likes of supermarkets, takeaways, petrol stations and pharmacies.

Dr Holohan this evening continued to urge people to avoid any travel for reasons other than essential reasons such as grocery shopping, visiting pharmacies or helping vulnerable relatives.

Asked specifically he considers hardware stores and garden centres essential retail outlets, he responded: "In my view, they are not."

He observed: “Our advice clearly is for people to stay with us [and] to avoid travelling in circumstances other than essential circumstances."

He said he 'understands completely' and has "enormous sympathy for the challenge that this is for individuals, and the fatigue that builds in over time."

However, he stressed that officials need to see more improvement from the social distancing measures that are in place - and called on the public to stick with the public health advice.

Dr Holohan was speaking as the latest coronavirus figures here showed 500 new confirmed cases, as well as a further 28 deaths here.

Main image: Dr Tony Holohan at today's coronavirus press briefing. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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