Coronavirus: ‘I believe we have to use a balance of common sense and risk assessment’

By Hayden Moore

USING common sense and risk assessment is the key for combating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on businesses but the fear of it is something that is proving somewhat harder to shake off.

Chief Executive of South Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Peter Byrne, has insisted that there is nothing yet to suggest businesses or the public should stop going about their regular everyday lives.

Peter Byrne 5 compressor

Peter Byrne, CEO, South Dublin Chamber

“We have had a lot of businesses contacting us, concerned about it, but there is nothing to suggest that we should stop going about our daily lives, and we don’t need to be going out there buying extra canned beans, canned soups, extra toilet rolls,” he told The Echo.

“We have to be reasonable, maybe throw an extra can of beans in when you’re doing the weekly shop, but going out and buying every single hand sanitiser in Aldi isn’t going to do anything – we have to be respectful of other people and their needs as well.

“We’re lucky in the fact that there are very good supply chains in Ireland that can resupply businesses to meet the normal demand, and extra demand if it’s needed.”

COVID-19, a new respiratory illness, has already had a psychological impact on consumers with people taking extra-precautions to limit their chances of contracting it.

“We have already seen the impact of the coronavirus and that is in people’s decision making,” continued Mr Byrne.

 “People are already cancelling holidays, big events and other gatherings and I believe that we have to use a balance of common sense and risk assessment.

“If you’re a business, holding a meeting to work out the risk assessment might be something to look at.

“Weigh up the risk and if somebody isn’t feeling well on a particular day then maybe they should stay at home.

The CEO added that keeping a keen ear open to advice that medical practitioners and the Health Services Executive (HSE) is issuing, is a wise thing to do.

He said: “I think the HSE is giving out very practical advice and we should listen to them.

“People who may come forward have to be judged with great integrity and honesty, because if we don’t have respect for them then it is going to discourage people coming forward who may have it.

“We are seeing the fear factor coming in with people not going to large areas, events and concerts, but as I’ve said, we have to balance the fear with what is common sense.

“When Tallaght University Hospital says don’t come and visit the hospital, maybe we should just listen to them and not go to the hospital.

“The practices around preventing the virus are things that we should be doing anyways, keeping our hands clean, not touching our face.

“We have to do our part to make sure that we get rid of the virus, so that it doesn’t become part of our daily lives.”

At the time of The Echo going to print, there were 34 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

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