Republic of Ireland news

Business as usual in Buncrana despite coronavirus shut-down

Buncrana Main Street was as busy as ever yesterday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

IT was largely business as usual in Buncrana yesterday on the first day of the Republic's coronavirus shutdown.

Business in the Co Donegal town appeared to continue as normal and traffic was as hectic as ever, with parking on Main Street at a premium.

However, on closer scrutiny there was evidence of the concern which led the Irish government to close schools and colleges and ban large public gatherings.

Some stores displayed warnings to customers not to enter if they had symptoms of the virus, while others had installed hand sanitisers.

At the Aldi and Lidl supermarkets, toilet rolls were sold out but there were few other signs of the panic buying which greeted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's announcement on Thursday.

Buncrana dance teacher Elizabeth Curran said she initially didn't know how to react.

"I have a dance studio, Studio 47, and it's all children. I didn't know what to do because I would never have more than 100 people (the limit set for gatherings) in anyway," she said.

“I slept on it and started to worry about it so I'm going to cancel all classes after tomorrow for two weeks; could be five weeks because I don't think the kids are going to be back in school."

Tour operator and German native Corina Scheel has lived in Buncrana for three years. She saw her business effectively shut down on Thursday.

“We can't bring the people anywhere because all the tourist attractions were closed overnight,” she said.

However, she added that Buncrana people didn't appear to be overly concerned.

“They're still happy out; they're mostly buying beer."

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