Nightclubs open again
Revised Covid-19 reopening guidelines for the hospitality and live entertainment sectors have been announced by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.
A statement said the updated guidelines take effect from Friday, October 22 and include the following:
· Full capacity is permissible at nightclub venues, as is dancing without masks. While venues can return to full capacity, it is important that operators have regard to the public health situation and the individual characteristics of the venues and decide on what safe capacity looks like for their venue.
· At live music events, up to 1500 standing patrons can attend, and any capacity above this number must be fully seated. Socially distanced bar service is permitted for drink orders and collection. All patrons must show proof of immunity and must have photo ID.
· The removal of the restrictions on multiple table bookings in a general hospitality setting means that family/social bookings are now permitted (a maximum of 15 per table, of which max 10 may be adults). However, such events must be fully-seated, with food and beverages to be consumed at the table.
· Weddings can operate without any capacity restrictions. Table capacities are the same as those for general hospitality (above).
· To access indoor hospitality, including pubs, customers must be able to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or immunity following recovery from COVID-19 and must have photo ID. Customers unable to provide the required evidence of vaccination or immunity following recovery may access outdoor hospitality only.
· A valid COVID-19 Digital Covid Certificate, with photo identification is required for admission to all venues operating for the purposes of live entertainment and nightclubs. Ticketing is required, for the purposes of contact tracing, for all nightclubs and venues and will be the subject of regulations to be put in place next week.
· Opening hours’ restrictions on licensed premises have been removed. Hotels and bars will apply closing times as set out in the Licensing Acts.
· Face coverings are still required at all times for employees in front-facing roles, and by all patrons other than when they are seated at their table or when dancing, drinking or eating in permitted live entertainment/nightclub venues.
· In licensed premises, counter service may be permitted, for ordering and collecting where orderly, safe and socially-distanced queuing can occur. This will be the subject of regulation also. Government Public Health advice is still that table service is the safest style of service but relaxation recognises that queueing can be managed very safely once there is no congregation of people. Hand sanitisers should be at all tables.
Minister Catherine Martin said: “The safe and viable return of the night time economy has been greatly anticipated, and welcomed, by the businesses and thousands of staff who bring Ireland’s cultural and nightlife economy to life. COVID is still a real threat to our society and the safety guidelines are necessary to balance public health while also facilitating the reopening of all sectors. Night club and live entertainment venues can return to welcoming customers (subject to capacity and standing limits for live events), however, it is vitally important that each venue operator utilises their skilled health and safety expertise, and exercises judgement and caution with due regard to protecting public health.”
The Minister added: “I would like to thank those involved in the hospitality, live entertainment and arts sector for their cooperation and engagement throughout this challenging time. As these sectors rebuild into a new and complex phase of the pandemic, there is an onus on all of us to take personal responsibility for our actions to ensure this reopening is safe and successful."
The measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
The updated guidance is available at https://covid19.failteireland. ie/ for the tourism and hospitality sector and at gov.ie for the live entertainment sector.
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