TO say that Cove and Kilcreggan were shocked to learn of an outbreak in our sleepy neck of the woods is something of an understatement.

The day we learned that a private event at the local bowling club had spawned several positive cases of Covid-19, I had been in the villages. The queue outside the chemist was all masked and socially distant, in deference to their one-in, one-out customer policy.

The village store allows a maximum of two people in its larger premises, and if you arrive when a couple of folks inside have ordered one of these complicated concoctions masquerading as a cup of coffee, then that’s just your Donald Duck.

Earlier, I had been to one of the local supermarkets which has a policy of reserving the first hour of business for vulnerable customers.

It has a one-way system with the aisles clearly marked for the appropriate distancing. The checkout is protected by a screen and the staff and customers are masked.

I recite all this merely to illustrate that the local retailers have had to take a serious attitude to preventing community spread.

READ MORE: 'Stringent precautions' followed before Kilcreggan Covid-19 outbreak

However, the other side of that equation is their customers being equally vigilant.

For many months, I only saw local friends on our weekly Zoom encounters. Gradually, that has morphed into having cuppas or drinks in gardens, and even indoors when the regulations were relaxed.

We all of us, after half a year in semi-isolation, leapt at the chance for some social interaction when a few of the restrictions loosened.

The group who arranged to hold a private event in the local bowling club were members there. Perhaps that’s what persuaded the club there wouldn’t be a problem if the premises were rendered Covid compliant.

But, as we now know, it takes very little for this nasty little virus to get another toehold.

READ MORE: Village venues announce temporary closures after local Covid-19 cases

And while this has caused huge inconvenience to all those people now isolating as a result of being in contact with any of the attendees, it has also had a profound effect on the neighbourhood.

This week our local village hall should have re-opened to the many community groups who use it for their activities. All had to complete and lodge a risk assessment and comply with a strict set of government guidelines.

Because of this unexpected outbreak, that has all been put on hold. The village hall board unanimously decided they could take no risks with the health of the hall users.

It took just one local event to kill off a tentative return to partial normality. A stark warning to us all to keep complacency at bay as well as Covid.

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