23 September 2020
By Tom Collins
As doctors ask the people of Cork to double down on public health guidelines with cases of Covid-19 again on the rise, Cork City Council has a new initiative that aims to promote social distancing and help protect vulnerable members of the community from Covid-19.
1,000 social distancing blue vests will be distributed across Cork City through various community centres and community groups. The blue vests will allow people with an underlying condition or who had been cocooning to get out and about, while reminding others to respect social distancing guidelines.
The idea came about through the Covid-19 Community Response Forum in Mahon, just one of the 16 community response groups set up by Cork City Council with the HSE and partners in response to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Feedback received from people cocooning as they came back out into communities when restrictions eased indicated that that they were very nervous and felt that people weren’t giving them enough space. The purpose of the vests is to indicate clearly that the person is asking others to keep their two-metre distance.
Following a pilot of the initiative in Knocknaheeny and Mahon, the blue vests are now available through local community centres (listed below) and a further 250 blue vests will also be distributed through the Friendly Call programme.
Family members of people who are still cocooning will also find the vests very useful in terms of indicating to others that they need to keep their distance in order to decrease the risk of bringing Covid-19 back into the family home.
Sandra O’Meara of Cork City Council’s Community Section said, “The Blue Vests initiative for Cork City came about as a creative response to people’s fears and anxieties about Covid-19 when out and about. The distinctive Blue Vests simply act as a reminder to passers-by to respect social distance.”
“This makes all the difference for people with underlying illnesses or after a period of cocooning, who need their exercise but want to remain safe’, she said.
Blue vests are available from the following community centres and organisations:
- Gurranabraher and City North West: Youthwork Ireland, The Hut Community Centre – 021 – 439 9862
- Mayfield and City North East: Newbury House Family Centre – 021 – 450 7999
- Mahon and City South East: Mahon Community Development Project – 021 4359070
- Ballyphehane/Togher and City South East: Ballyphehane Togher Community Development Project – 021 4319085
- Ballincollig and surrounds in City West: Westgate Foundation, Ballincollig – 021 487 3648
- Glanmire and surrounds in City East: Glanmire Area Community Association – 021 482 1333
Alternatively, contact Cork City Council on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the vests are available on a first-come, first-served basis.