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Latest update on easing the country’s restrictions announced

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Government this afternoon (Tuesday) announced the latest in the country's reopening plans including that the remaining aspects of the hospitality, entertainment and night-time economy sector can reopen with a full range of protective measures in place.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that "over the course of the last two weeks we have seen a worsening of the situation" and that the number of new infections, people requiring hospital admissions and people in ICU "have all increased", and that the "figures are a cause for concern".

"They are also a timely reminder of how dangerous this virus remains and the need for ongoing vigilance."

He said based on NPHET's recommendations the sectors due to reopen this Friday (October 22) "may now do so" on the basis that "customers produce their proof of vaccine and identity. 

He announced the following changes:

* a requirement for EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID-19 pass) (vaccine or recovery certificate) for indoor hospitality and events
* social distancing to continue as a precaution
* that face masks continue to be worn which can be removed for consumption of food or drinks
* table service only in hospitality settings with a maximum of 10 adults per table, and max 15 including children
* collection of contact tracing data to remain in place
* for indoor live music, drama, live entertainment and sporting events audience/spectators should be fully seated (standing permitted at your seat)
* specific sectoral guidance will be developed for nightclubs setting out appropriate protective measures. This will involve COVID-19 passes, contact tracing data collection and wearing of face masks except when eating, drinking and dancing
* COVID-19 passes and fixed capacity limits will not apply for outdoor events. However, sectors should ensure appropriate protective measures are in place
* organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place, and where indoor groups have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors, pods of six should apply. Fixed capacity limits will not apply to these indoor and outdoor group activities
* religious services and weddings can proceed without capacity limits but with all other protective measures remaining in place
* return to workplaces will continue on a phased and cautious basis for specific business requirements

Other recommendations include that a booster dose of Comirnaty® (Pfizer) vaccine be offered to all those aged 60 to 79 years.

That the HSE should implement a programme of COVID-19 antigen testing for people who are identified as fully vaccinated close contacts of a confirmed case and who do not have any symptoms.

The current enhanced illness benefit payment of €350 a week for COVID-19 will remain in place for employees and self-employed people who test positive with the virus.

Pre-boarding obligations placed on travellers to provide evidence of a valid PCR test result, unless exempt (such as vaccinated or recovered or children under 12) continue.

The mandatory hotel and home quarantine system is no longer considered necessary and will be wound down.

He finished by saying that "the changes to the plan we have made today gives us the space to ensure that the next steps towards normality that we take are safe and sustainable".  

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]

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The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley

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