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Business owners gutted to close early after outbreak

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Kevin Dundon and other businesses have had to close temporarily in reaction to the outbreak in the district

Kevin Dundon and other businesses have had to close temporarily in reaction to the outbreak in the district

Kevin Dundon and other businesses have had to close temporarily in reaction to the outbreak in the district

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Chef Kevin Dundon has hit out at the disregard shown for the elderly and vulnerable people of the community following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the area, believed to number over 100 cases.

Virtually every business along the peninsula - barring shops, post offices and chemists - has closed due to the outbreak, which is believed to have emanated from a large funeral in Ramsgrange.

Mr Dundon closed his business on Sunday as planned, and hopes to reopen this Sunday.

He said: 'The disregard for the community and its elderly and vulnerable is just beyond belief. We contacted every staff member that was working for us to make sure they had no contacts with anyone remotely associated with the funeral. There were one or two and we told them not to come to work because we need to protect our residents and staff. We are not taking any risks.'

Mr Dundon said Dunbrody Country House Hotel has operated on a residents-only basis since March. 'There have been no locals coming to the hotel.'

He said they had no cancellations, but is unsure what will happen after Christmas with new restrictions on the horizon.

'This has made me very conscious about the whole Covid-19 situation and I don't know if it's because it's on our doorstep here and when you know people that have it.'

He praised local GPs and the HSE for carrying out contact tracing.

Eileen Roche of Roche's pub in Duncannon took the difficult decision, along with her family, to close last Monday.

'We closed as a precaution. We had a full house that weekend and were busy. It breaks your heart to close. We are here in the business 40 years and we have never experienced anything like this. It's difficult. We just have to accept it and have to do what is best for everyone.'

Ms Roche said they can't run the risk of any staff getting sick.

'If anything happens our staff, we are nowhere. It's such a shame because we have been adhering to all of the guidelines. We are sanitised out the door. At the end of the day this happened because everyone isn't doing it and you just don't know who has it and who is coming in who has been in contact with someone with Covid. We're closed, the pub across the road is closed; practically every business on the Hook Peninsula is closed apart form chemists and shops.

'I know the family have a lot to contend with and it's very tough on them as they are right in the middle of it. They are a very well known and respected family. They will have to deal with the outcome of this.'

She said customers are extremely disappointed, but understanding of the reasons for businesses' closing.

'It's disappointing, particularly at Christmas time.'


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