On Friday, March the 13th, I had a full day of clinic booked, business as usual so it seemed. I had just purchased a McCambridge’s hamper the night before and was planning on holding a raffle on the business Facebook page to commemorate one year in business (March 23rd). The hot topic that day was that all schools and colleges had closed, what exactly was going to happen? Who was going to be closed next? I made the difficult decision to close the doors on Monday the 16th of March. After all, pharmacies were one of few businesses that were considered essential and had to remain open. Linda O’ Connell Podiatry ceased services for eight long weeks. During that time, communications were made across all social media platforms, WhatsApp, texts, and calls. It seemed to be the new normal to explain a treatment plan over the phone. Everyone was extremely understanding and grateful for what little help I could offer. At this stage of the health pandemic, podiatry services, by law, were only permitted in the case of an emergency.

On Friday the 29th of May I could finally open my doors. Everyone who has booked an appointment is informed of the new protocols in place a few days before. They are welcomed with a mask and hand sanitizer before proceeding to the clinic room. They are asked about any new symptoms of COVID-19 and their temperature is checked. I am dressed in head to toe in PPE: scrubs, gloves, mask, apron, and a face visor. Every surface is disinfected thoroughly before the next appointment time. There is a lot of extra time required and so each patient is booked in for a 45 minute slot.

COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable. Masks and hand sanitizer on your person in public seem to be the new normal. Athenry as a town has adapted extremely well to the situation which was highlighted to me on my first day back in business, everything went smoothly, and everyone was compliant and understanding of the new situation. We will get over this, we will adapt and overcome. I am excited to see what the future holds for Athenry!