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COVID -19 Corona virus. Queues for the tills at ALDI Blackpool Retail Park, Cork on Thursday at 2pm.Picture: Larry Cummins
COVID -19 Corona virus. Queues for the tills at ALDI Blackpool Retail Park, Cork on Thursday at 2pm.Picture: Larry Cummins
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Retail body appeals for calm after coronavirus announcement sparks panic buying 

LATEST: A retail body has appealed for calm after this morning's announcement of drastic measures to combat the spread of coronavirus led to panic buying in shops across Cork and Ireland. 

Retail Excellence said it has spoken with all of the major grocery multiples and forecourt operators in Ireland since the announcement. 

"We would like to reassure everyone that Ireland is prepared to continue to supply all grocery outlets for the coming months," it said in a statement. "There is no reason for Irish citizens to have any concern in that regard.

"The industry has never been more prepared having planned for a hard Brexit over the past number of months. Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister of Business and Enterprise, has done a tremendous job in monitoring this matter and please be assured that we have more than adequate contingencies in place." 

Queues for the tills at ALDI, Blackpool Retail Park, Cork on Thursday. Picture: Larry Cummins
Queues for the tills at ALDI, Blackpool Retail Park, Cork on Thursday.
Picture: Larry Cummins

It went on to say that social media images of empty shelves are 'simply sensationalizing the matter'.

"These shelves are restocked every evening and restocking will continue into the future. We echo An Taoiseach’s comments when this morning he confirmed that the shops will remain open and we have plans to ensure supply chains will not be interrupted." 

EARLIER: THE announcement today by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of a shutdown of schools and other public facilities has sparked panic-buying in supermarkets across Cork and the rest of Ireland. 

Mr Varadkar has announced that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland are to close, from 6pm today.

Panic buying in Dunnes, Ballyvolane
Panic buying in Dunnes, Ballyvolane
He said cultural institutions will also close but public transport will continue to operate.

The announcement has led to panic buying in supermarkets across the city and county, with worried families and individuals stock up for the weeks ahead. 

People on social media described the scenes as crazy, with many forced to abandon shopping because of the long queues. 

The emergency measures will remain in place until March 29. 

Shops, restaurants and other businesses are to remain open but limitations are being placed on indoor and outdoor gatherings of people.

Indoor gatherings of 100 people or more are cancelled, while outdoor gatherings of 500 or more are also cancelled.

The Taoiseach said: "This will involve big changes and enormous sacrifices but we are doing it for each other."

Dunnes Stores in Blackpool. Picture: Robert McNamara