WITH the announcement of additional restrictive measures to help contain the spread of the coronavirus announced by Taoiseach Leo Vardakar on Friday, the streets of Cork this morning were even quieter than the weeks prior.
Garda checkpoints in Cork were ubiquitous and so far there has been positive feedback from Gardaí in terms of Covid-19 compliance levels.
"There has been a high level of cooperation and most people are adhering to the new Covid-19 measures," Sgt Fergus Twomey who conducted a checkpoint on the Blackrock Road this morning told.
"The vast majority of commuters were on essential trips," he said.
Sgt Twomey stated that high levels of checkpoints will remain to ensure that the public continue to comply with the new government directives, saying that there will be "saturation policing from dawn until dusk".
In Kent Station, just two passengers sat waiting for trains.
At Cork Airport, there were just two arrivals and two departures from Heathrow Airport and London Stansted.
The Airport is now operating reduced opening hours, from 8am-8pm to facilitate repatriation flights, emergency landings and medical evacuations during the Covid-19 emergency.
Many businesses which remained operational before Friday night have now been forced to close their doors, leaving just the most essential open.
Following the Taoiseach’s announcement, Liam Ryan, who owns SuperValu stores in Frankfield, Glanmire and Togher, said there was another surge in panic buying, but this has now abated once more.
"There was a definite increase in sales on Friday night and Saturday morning but trading returned to normal on Saturday afternoon. Today we also had a normal day of trading," he said.
Over the weekend, he said that Gardaí visited all SuperValu stores to ensure the stores and its customers were complying with government directives.
"I think it’s great that the Gardaí are checking up to see that people are complying with social distancing.
"The vast majority of customers are adhering to everything that’s being asked of them because they realise they have a duty of care to each other and to my staff," he said.
Mr Ryan praised his staff for their dedication and commitment during this challenging time.
"My staff are excellent. They are certainly part of the frontline and have been consistently working very hard," he said.
To keep staff and customers safe, Ryan’s SuperValu have implemented a number of measures including a queue system outside each store, monitored by a staff member, a personal hygiene station and plexiglass screens at the checkouts.
Additionally, every second checkout has been closed to adhere to the required social distancing.
The English Market also remains open in solidarity with its customers, offering a valuable service to the community it serves.
Donal O’Gara, who runs My Goodness with his wife Virginia, said the market was eerily quiet on Monday but he endeavoured to remain open in some capacity for the benefit of his suppliers and customers.
"This is our first day open since the full lockdown.
"We make immune-boosting drinks so we were steady enough in business until this week. Financially, it is not worth opening.
"But we are aware people might not have had the chance to come in also want to give our suppliers a chance to sell their produce," he said.
"We stock seasonal only Cork grown vegetables. So many of their avenues have been shut down."
Donal said his business has downsized dramatically in recent days and weeks.
"Normally we employ 15 staff and now it is just me and my wife and we have two others working in the kitchen "Some people temporarily laid off, hopefully when we are back up and running they will all be rehired."
My Goodness is now closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which would have been the businesses quieter days.
The stall is normally open from 9am to 6pm but now it is open 10am to 3.30pm.
"We are very much taking it very much day to day," he said.
Donal said while he and his wife don’t have children he would be a little concerned for his wife’s health as she has asthma.
Despite this, he hopes to remain open as he says the market plays an invaluable role in the food supply in Cork.
"It’s important that small businesses are still here when this is over.
"I know it’s hard in the eye of the storm to think beyond it, but we have to protect the long-established family businesses in the market.
Tim Mulcahy from the Chicken Inn said he still has a lot of his regular customers and he plans on staying open throughout the lockdown.
"We are adhering to the Government and HSE guidelines and the council have been very proactive in helping us.
"People keep their distance but the first thing they ask is how are ye?
"It goes back to the age-old philosophy behind the market that will never be lost. People are happy to see us open."
The Alternative Bread Company (ABC) has been up and running for the past 24 years.
Speaking to The Echo, Sheila Fitzpatrick said they also hoped to stay open in the coming weeks.
"It is quieter, but the slogan of the market is 'serving the city' and that is what we are doing.
It is not about making a profit, just getting by and serving the customers.
"We will do that as long as possible with a skeleton staff."
"We have a lot of elderly people coming to us for the past 24 years, it is important to us that they can get what they need. We feel a duty and care to our customers. People can phone in an order in advance on 021-4251347."
Julie Twomey in The Chocolate Shop said she has been working there for the past five years and this is their quietest Easter to date.
The UCC Biomedical science student said they had a lot of Easter stock to sell and they were doing a lot of online sales on www.chocolate.ie as well as offering a click and collect service from their English Market stall.