Video: Storm Barra leaves thousands without power and new restrictions in place today

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Kenneth Fox

Storm Barra

Storm Barra is sweeping across Ireland, bringing flooding, travel disruptions and winds of more than 130km to some parts of the island.

Schools, colleges and creches in some of the worst affected areas will remain closed on Tuesday, amid warnings that no part of the island will escape from the effects of the major storm.

Covid-19 test and vaccination centres will also remain closed in some parts of the country.

Met Éireann has warned that disruption to travel and the power supply is likely, along with coastal flooding.

Power outages

More than 59,000 homes, farms and businesses are without power as a result of Storm Barra.

Cork and Kerry are bearing the brunt of the gale force winds which could reach up to 130 kilometres per hour. A red wind alert will come into effect in Clare from 4pm, while orange warnings are in place in 11 other coastal counties.

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The ESB confirmed that more than 59,000 electricity customers remain without power across the country as of 9.45am.

New restrictions

A number of new Covid-19 restrictions come into place today, and will remain in effect until January 9th.

Pubs, restaurants and hotels will return to the restrictions that were in place before October 22nd.

However, closing times remain unchanged at midnight. Covid passes will be required for bars and restaurants, including hotel facilities, with no exemption for guests.

A Covid pass will also be required for gyms and leisure centres for the first time.

Moderna booster

People due to receive their booster Covid vaccine this week will only be offered the Moderna dose at mass vaccination centres.

It is understood the HSE has supplies of Moderna that are due to expire next month, so the vaccine will be administered widely over the coming  weeks.

Centres are currently offering boosters of Pfizer or Moderna to people aged 60-69, healthcare workers, and younger people in vulnerable groups.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said last night that the rollout of boosters for the 50-59 age cohort will start this week. This is expected to expand to all over-50s no later than the end of next week.

Covid cert compliance

There has been little improvement over the past month in the number of bars, cafes, nightclubs and restaurants complying with rules requiring indoor patrons to produce a Covid-19 cert.

Officers from the HSE’s Environmental Health Service have carried out 4,445 checks on hospitality businesses since October 22nd.

Despite a renewed push for compliance by health authorities, The Irish Times reports that 72 per cent of businesses were in compliance - an increase of just two per cent since the start of November.

Instagram break

Instagram will now suggest users take a break from the platform if they spend too long scrolling, the social media giant has said.

The move is part of new tools being rolled out to boost safety on the app, which also includes parental controls such as setting app time limits for teenagers, due for launch next year.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the new Take A Break feature, which is launching in the UK on Tuesday, aimed to “empower people to make informed decisions about how they’re spending their time”.

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