Marts to stay open in ‘lockdown counties’ – but with ‘extra risk measures’

Three counties – Kildare, Laois and Offaly – have been put under more stringent public health measures due to a spike in Covid-19 cases there – partially associated with clusters in meat plants.

A number of more stringent restrictions have been introduced in these counties, not unlike the measures earlier in the year during the initial stages of the government’s roadmap for reopening the country.

Although mart activities were heavily curtailed back then, they will be allowed to remain open in these counties while the new restrictions are in place for the next two weeks.

However, they will be subject to further measures to manage the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “Marts within the three counties are to implement extra risk mitigation measures over the next two weeks. Details of those measures are being finalised between department officials and mart organisations at present.”

At the moment, social distancing in marts has been reduced from 2m to 1m, a change that was implemented a number of weeks ago. Mart attendances in the show areas are currently limited to 50 people.

It is likely that these restrictions will be tightened when the department finalises the arrangements.

Meat plants

In other Covid-19 related news, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said that it spoke this morning, Friday, August 7, with the acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn, as well as government departments, to review safety protocols in meat processing plants.

This follows a recent return of Covid-19 clusters in processing plants, and a general spike in the number of cases associated with factories.

In a statement this afternoon, MII said: “This morning, MII engaged with government departments; the acting chief medical officer; and trade union representatives to further review the protocols in place and look at any additional actions that can be undertaken.”