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Exempt No curfew for Midnight Mass and other religious services

Currently, places of worship are open for religious services with no limits on the numbers attending

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St John’s Church Castle Street Tralee Co Kerry .

St John’s Church Castle Street Tralee Co Kerry .

St John’s Church Castle Street Tralee Co Kerry .

Religious services will be exempt from the 8pm curfew that comes into place from tomorrow, the Government has confirmed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin last night announced a suite of new restrictions aimed at curbing the latest Covid-19 wave which is being driven by the transmission of the Omicron and Delta variants.

Under the latest restrictions, bars and restaurants must close their doors by 8pm but there are no restrictions on the number of customers allowed indoors during opening hours.

The curfew has been brought in for sporting, cultural and theatrical venues as well, and capacity at these venues has also been reduced to 50pc.

However, religious services can continue beyond 8pm - meaning Christmas midnight mass can go ahead for parishioners across the country.

Currently, places of worship are open for religious services with no limits on the numbers attending.

Protective measures must be in place such as mask wearing and social distancing where possible. Baptisms, communions, confirmations and wedding can all take place.

Meanwhile, the 8pm curfew will also apply to hotel restaurants and bars, but overnight guests will be able to stay on past 8pm.

Wedding receptions will be able to continue past 8pm but have a capacity limit of 100 guests.

Cinemas and theatres will also have to close at 8pm and be limited to a capacity of 50pc or 1,000, whichever is lower.

The 50pc or 1,000 attendees limit will also apply to indoor events including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events.

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People who are not vaccinated or who have not received a booster but are a close contact of a confirmed case are being asked to restrict their movement for ten days, while the HSE is set to announce a testing regime for people in this cohort.

Those who did receive a booster shot at least a week ago will have to restrict their movements for five days and take three antigen tests.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that as soon as from January, the EU Digital Covid Cert will be revised to include people who have received their boosters.

It may be the case that only those who have been boosted may be able to get the revised cert from springtime.

“If you’re thinking of European travel next spring or summer, it would be a good idea to get the third dose,” said Mr Varadkar.

Following last night’s announcement, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed that booster vaccines will be made available for people aged 40-49 years from tomorrow.

People in this age cohort can get their booster dose from vaccination centres, GP surgeries and pharmacies.

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