After a fraught 72 hours of a rollercoaster news cycle of announcements, anomalies, clarifications and despair, the kinks have finally been worked out as guidelines for nightclubs, live events, bars and restaurants have been established.
On Tuesday, the government announced nightclubs could go ahead with COVID-19 certs while live gigs were only limited to full capacity seated.
Naturally, with thousands of tickets sold to full capacity standing ahead of the planned removal of restrictions on Friday October 22nd, there was uproar from the sector with thousands of euro and jobs on the line that would have meant four more months of no standing gigs for anyone.
As a reminder full capacity gigs and nightclubs were closed for 585 days, over 83 weeks.
So what’s been announced?
Well nothing 100% yet as of 8pm as the meeting is ongoing andd the guidelines have not been released but this is what we have been hearing all day, and what the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin has announced to the media.
Full live gigs with standing capacity is allowed up to 1,500 people from Friday October 22nd.
That 1500 standing capacity is alongside 100% seated capacity (so venues like 3Arena and INEC can have a larger overall capacity).
Nightclubs are at 100% capacity – ticketed events encouraged for contact tracing purposes.
Everyone will require a Covid-19 Cert for entry for both live gigs and nightclubs.
Normal late hours to resume.
Face mask should be worn in queues.
Much of the issue discussed between government and stakeholders today were around inconsistencies between nightclubs, gigs, pubs and bars, particular bar service.
What’s been decided upon is:
People can queue at the bar, but they must be socially distanced, and must then return to their table.
Queuing at the bar is how live gigs and nightclubs work and how most bars operated via to COVID.
I’m going to butt in here, October 22nd was supposed to be a time where we moved to personal responsibility due to our 89% plus over the age of 12 vaccinated, and that is the case here though the government won’t acknowledge it. Instead they talk about “anomalies”, that they have now spent two days engaging with the hospitality, live music and nightclub sectors over.
Getting down to this level of granularity, is frankly, unworkable. You have to allow for human behaviour at bars, and unfortunately that means people are going to congregate close to each other without social distancing if a place is crowded.
We are moving back to some level of normality that means vaccinated people or those without COVID-19 at events will, willingly want to be there and know the risks themselves after 19 long months.
But from tomorrow, proper gigs and dancing are back.
Until it’s reviewed by the government again as Martin said earlier as “because we have to be cognisant at all times of the scenario with the pandemic”.