Impact of coronavirus hitting home as tour group cancels

March 11th, 2020 11:50 AM

By Emma Connolly

A local school is considering its plans for an Italian trip.

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WITH several cases of the coronavirus now confirmed in Ireland, the impact of the global crisis has reached West Cork where people are remaining vigilant. 

A group of Italian visitors due to visit Skibbereen Heritage Centre next week have, not surprisingly, changed their plans. 

Terri Kearney of the centre said: ‘Thankfully we are continuing to get group enquiries from the US and UK with, for example, a new US tour group booking a date for their tour in July just this week.’ 

Shops and chemists almost everywhere are selling of anti-bac soaps, while stocks of masks, which medics have said are not actually effective in preventing the spread, are also very low. 

Some of the region’s major employers who have staff recently returned from working abroad, have introduced strict ‘work from home’ policies for those staff. That includes the pharmaceutical plant MSD in Brinny. 

Students in Skibbereen Community School who are due to visit Rome over Easter are also continuing to monitor the situation closely with no final decision yet taken. 

Meanwhile, with summer holiday travel plans for many people now being seriously re-examined, the domestic tourism market may yet receive an unexpected boost. 

Terri Kearney added: ‘I don’t think anyone can really say what will happen in the months ahead, but if Irish people do decide to stay in Ireland for their holidays, I think that they will be really pleasantly surprised.’

Eileen O’Shea of Bantry Tourism added: ‘It’s early yet to get enquiries from the home market for the summer season, but Easter is looking very positive for the home market. Needless to say, though, this virus is very worrying.’

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