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Temporary Test Centre Points to the Way Forward

25th March 2021

Tullamore Temporary Walk-in Test Centre is an extremely positive development in managing the current situation. The county vaccination centre needs to be prioritised ahead of all others. Offaly must move away from Level 5 in tandem with the rest of the country.

Temporary Test Centre Points to the Way Forward

Key Points

  • Tullamore Temporary Walk-in Test Centre is an extremely positive development in managing the current situation.
  • The county vaccination centre needs to be prioritised ahead of all others.
  • Offaly must move away from Level 5 in tandem with the rest of the country.

 

Great News - Temporary Walk-in Test Centre Opens

Tullamore Walk-In test centre is a very positive development. Our understanding from public health is there is no one particular COVID-19 transmission source; workplace, community, schools etc. The corollary being COVID is everywhere at this time. Large-scale testing will enable outbreaks to be isolated and extinguished.

In our previous lock-downs high-volume testing was called for but not provided. Industry specific weekly testing has allowed the meat processing sector to continue in an orderly fashion.

 

Next Step – Prioritise County Vaccination Centre

If the solution is ‘to go where the fish are swimming’, then the next obvious step is to prioritise the county vaccination centre for much earlier opening while virus incidence rates are highest in Ireland and around three times higher than our neighbours. Seeing the impact vaccination has had on healthcare worker infections, this would ensure we are ready for a Level 5 exit in-line with the rest of country.

 

Moving Ahead – Leaving Level 5

We are currently at the highest level of restrictions. What is still not publicly known is at what levels of infections or vaccinations restrictions will ease.

Offaly must not be left behind. While there is nothing to say this is being considered, it must not even be contemplated. The consequences are too great. Under previous periods of restrictions, while industry worked away largely unimpeded, the negative publicity created a perception of Offaly being ‘closed’ and unable to supply customers, which was not the case.

Different business sectors will return to work at different times. It is generally said that Construction will emerge from Level 5 first and will show what we already know from Manufacturing and Essential Retail; that workplaces are safe when controls are in place.

In terms of on-going business supports needed, there is not a ‘one size fits all’. Retail and wholesale for example, accounting for about 20% of employment in Offaly is largely cyclical and liquidity will be key to a successful restart. Hospitality will likely need on-going wage supports until patrons are confident and return in numbers.

We must remain committed to the public health guidelines at all times; spacing, face covering and hand hygiene otherwise restrict, test and isolate.

Roger Guiney, Tullamore & District Chamber, 25.03.21

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