An Inishowen beach is set to close to the public during the Covid-19 emergency.
Lisfannon Beach between Buncrana and Fahan will be closed in an effort to stop social gatherings.
Donegal County Council has announced that a barrier will be reinforced at the beach to block access until further notice.
The move comes following reports of large groups of people congregating on the beach last weekend. Images of people swimming in the water together sparked calls for garda patrols to disperse crowds and to ensure that people keep a 2m distance under health guidelines.
And other beaches and public areas could be blocked if distancing guidelines are not followed.
Many more beaches and public amenities in Donegal are set to see more garda presence in the coming weeks. Gardaí will be working to ensure that social/physical distancing is being observed and will disperse crowds of more than four persons. Particular emphasis will be placed on locations that have already experienced crowds who have already “flouted the government’s guidance”, according to Donegal County Council.
Yesterday, the Council announced the closure of the visitor’s centre and toilets and introduced restrictions to certain vehicular access at Slieve Liag cliffs in South Donegal. Those restrictions remain in place.
A statement from Donegal County Council said that some members of the public are ignoring guidelines and not helping the country delay and manage the spread of the virus.
“There has been enough public messaging on what is expected of the population at this stage and yet the message has not sunk-in with some or they simply are choosing to ignore it.
“This could have very severe consequences for the people themselves, their family and friends or the wider community,” a spokesperson said.
“It is also acknowledged that people need to have an opportunity to get outdoors for exercise and their general well being. Access to beaches, parks and walking trails helps to meet this need for many and it is for this reason that at this time the Council will be making every effort to keep as many of these facilities open for the public. This must be done in a sensible and managed way.”
The public has been warned that other public areas and beaches will have to be closed if people do not voluntarily comply with guidelines.
The Council requests that people stay at home as much as possible but when visiting the local public amenities that are open to obey the fundamental rules at this time including:
- Everyone to stay at least 2m apart;
- Groups to be no greater than 4 persons;
- Do not congregate at entrance points – when you arrive, move on as quick as you can;
- Bring your own water and snacks and avoid ice cream vans and the like where big crowds tend to gather with no means of observing the proper protocols;
- If you arrive at an amenity that is already crowded, move on and find somewhere else or come back when the crowd has cleared;
- Follow any directions given on signage or by people in charge; and,
- Take personal responsibility and understand the relevant government protocols which are in wide circulation.
The Council acknowledges the huge steps taken by the general public over a short number of weeks.
A spokesperson added: “It is something that none of us could have imagined would be needed in such a short space of time. People have had to make huge adjustments and sacrifices in many aspects of their daily lives from family, jobs, businesses and financially. For our many visitors, we are asking them not to cancel their trips to Donegal but instead to postpone them until a time we are in a position to once again offer a warm welcome to our beautiful County.
“At this time we are seeking the help and co-operation of everyone to take another step and make one more push against COVID-19 to keep each other safe in our public areas and amenities.”