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Tickets for late events and nightclubs must be booked an hour in advance under proposed rules

LVA CEO Donall O’Keeffe said the ticketing system will impact live music in pubs and musicians.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Oct 26th 2021, 6:00 PM

NIGHTCLUBS AND LATE-NIGHT events will require tickets to be booked at least an hour in advance under new Covid-19 regulations

Pub and late-night industry representatives met with Government officials this morning to finalise plans for how nightclubs and venues will operate over the coming months.

The government announced new proposals for the sector this evening, which state that ticketing for nightclubs and event will be electronic and will need to be booked by patrons at least an hour in advance.

In a statement, it was also clarified that tickets must also contain details to allow for “robust contact tracing”.

Regulations are expected to be published on Thursday, bringing the new rules into effect.

This will mean that late-night venues will need to have the ticketing system in place and ready for customers on Thursday night.

Industry representatives are understood to have sought a two-week delay in the roll out of such rules as many do not have the systems in place for ticket bookings.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that there will be “teething problems” with the new system and that the new rules would be kept under “constant review”.

Speaking to The Journal in Ashbourne in County Meath today, he said the most important thing was keeping nightlife industry open, but that such rules “are there for a reason”.

“To be very frank, I think there are going to be teething problems and implementation problems,” he said.

Varadkar said government would continue to engage with the sector, but defended the restrictions, saying they have to be put in place to “keep people safe”.

While acknowledging that “there will be issues”, he asked the industry to work with government officials.

He said the government would “keep an open mind” on the new rules, and keep them under review in the coming weeks. 

Government officials also said at the meeting today that there is to be no congregating outside venues, and that only people with tickets should be in the queue.

However, industry sources are asking government if they are meant to ask customers who have been in the pub during the day to leave and book tickets, before allowing them to re-enter the premises in the evening time.

Initial guidelines

Initial government guidelines for nightclubs were published on Friday evening, just before clubs reopened for the first time in nearly 600 days.

The guidelines said that, alongside a Covid-19 certificate and photographic ID, anyone attending a nightclub will need to have bought a ticket in advance. 

Earlier today, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) described the ticketing system as “a bombshell”. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, LVA CEO Donall O’Keeffe said his organisation understood “this was not going to happen”. 

O’Keeffe said: “We have a lot of anomalies here.

“The situation is very fluid, the position on Saturday was very different to Friday.”

Ahead of a meeting with Government this morning, O’Keeffe said the ticketing system will impact live music in pubs and musicians. “A lot of  musicians who were hoping to get gigs in the run-in to Christmas are not going to get it because traditional pubs won’t be operating a ticketing system.”

He said it was unacceptable that after more than 600 days of closure “we still don’t know what guidelines we’re supposed to be operating within.”

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The engagement with stakeholders was not handled well, with sources stating that some officials were not straight with business operators as to what the new regulations would entail. 

It is understood that the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan made his views known on the reopening of nightclubs, and what it should involve, with one source stating that Holohan would have made his views known to senior officials in the Department of Culture and Tourism.

Yesterday, Green Party Minister Pippa Hackett insisted that the Government’s handling of new ticketing rules for live music and late-night hospitality in Ireland is not shambolic.

“Less than a week ago we were going to reopen without any restrictions and we had to make some decisions based on the direction of travel of the Covid numbers and we have made those decisions this week,” she said.

“There are anomalies, there are things to be ironed out and we are continuing to do that, but we have seen the sector itself has been closed for over 600 days. We are trying now to move to a situation where we can live with Covid.

“The measures that have been brought in in relation to ticketing… I think people have been socialising anyway, we have seen hordes of people on the streets.”

With reporting by Christina Finn and Press Association.

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