DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s police chief told people who broke coronavirus containment rules to travel to a holiday home that they must stay put until the restrictions are lifted, in a warning to others not to be tempted.
With weather improving ahead of the Easter holiday weekend, Irish Commissioner Drew Harris said police patrols had noticed discipline starting slip, with people making non-essential journeys and even holding house parties.
Irish citizens were ordered on March 27 to stay at home until at least this Sunday, limitations the country’s chief medical officer said on Tuesday that he did not expect to be able to recommend lifting this week.
“The regulations make it clear that if you’re at your holiday home already now, you need to stay there. That is now your place of residence,” Harris told reporters on Wednesday.
“If you’re thinking of travelling there, don’t. A journey to a holiday home is not an essential journey, we will be able to turn you back. Stay put.”
Police have began an operation that will run until late on Monday involving thousands of checkpoints and 2,500 officers at any one time to clamp down on those flouting the rules.
Michael Vaughan, a hotelier in the popular western seaside town of Lahinch, posted a video online on Tuesday saying locals had seen a number of people with holiday homes quietly slip in over recent weekends and urged others to stay away.
“We’re asking you please to help us keep our village safe, keep our people safe from the coronavirus,” the Vaughan Lodge Hotel owner said in the video broadcast by Virgin Media News.
“We’d love to see you when all this is over but please let it not be over the Easter this year,” Vaughan added.
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood resigned on Sunday after she broke her own advice by visiting her second home.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alexander Smith)