Cork Penny Dinners has been forced to close its doors, and operate on a take-away only basis, as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.
The decision, made overnight, came into effect this morning when a sign was placed on the door advising people of the move.
Catriona Twomey said the decision was necessary to protect the health and safety of vulnerable people and of the volunteers but admitted it wasn’t an easy one to make given the importance of Cork Penny Dinners as a social outlet for so many people.
“We had an elderly man come up from Clonakilty this morning and it was heart-wrenching to have to hand food out to him. Everyone is finding that aspect difficult.
“We have a lot of people with underlying conditions though, a lot of elderly people and we are mindful of all their needs,” she said.
Catriona Twomey said she was very worried about the impact the outbreak could have on people who attend Cork Penny Dinners. “If they go down, where do they go? They’ll need assistance and I’m urging the council and the government to look at this. You can’t let someone nurse themselves in a doorway or in a tent. The same goes for people in hotels. They can’t self-isolate from their families. They are all in one room.” Cork Penny Dinners has also had to suspend the receipt of donations of clothes and nursery items for the time being.
“We’ve prepared for the worst. People talk about a Plan B, well we have a Plan C, D and E. We are following the guidelines. We have every scenario covered and we are just trying to protect everyone and our volunteers,” she said.