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Live music allowed in outdoor settings under updated hospitality guidelines

The update comes following a controversy involving an outdoor event held by former minister Katherine Zappone.

People enjoying outdoor dining in Dublin city
People enjoying outdoor dining in Dublin city
Image: RollingNews.ie

FÁILTE IRELAND HAS updated its guidelines for organised outdoor events following advice from the Attorney General.

Earlier this week AG Paul Gallagher advised the government that up to 200 people can attend organised outdoor events and gatherings.

A statement released by the government today noted: “The guidelines have also been updated to allow for live music and other performances outdoors in hospitality settings, subject to all of the relevant public health guidance.”

Fáilte Ireland’s recommendations now state: “Overall capacity will depend on the size of the outdoor event area where customers will be seated. The current capacity in August 2021 is a maximum of 200.”

When organising outdoor events, management of the venue “is responsible for minimising the number of arrival and departure points for customers”.

The guidelines state the following:

  • Live music and performances are permitted in outdoor hospitality settings, subject  to adherence with all relevant COVID-19 guidance. Please note that the performance area must be a minimum of 2 metres from the customers. 
  • Multiple tables can be booked in an outdoor area.
  • Intermingling between tables is not permitted.
  • Premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30pm.

The advice also notes that weddings fall under a different regulation and have an upper limit of 100 guests.

Covid-19 rules currently limit numbers at the majority of organised outdoor events to 500 at venues with capacity in excess of 5,000.

Source: The Journal

Zappone controversy

The government sought Gallagher’s advice this week amid controversy over an event organised by former minister Katherine Zappone on the grounds of Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was among the 50 guests who attended the outdoor event on 21 July.

The Government Press Office on Wednesday released a statement saying the AG had advised that organised events and gatherings could take place for up to 200 people “including social, recreational, exercise, cultural, entertainment or community events”.

In a statement, Varadkar said: “I confirmed in advance directly with [Zappone], and with the hotel management on arrival, that the event was compliant with Covid regulations. I was present for about 45 minutes, spoke to Dr Zappone briefly and listened to her speech before returning to work. The event took place entirely outdoors.

“I am confident these regulations were not breached. This matter has been checked with the Attorney General.”

Zappone announced on Wednesday that she will not take up the role of UN Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression amid controversy over the role itself and the event she hosted at the Merrion Hotel.

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The saga unleashed a slew of criticism from opposition parties, representatives from industry groups and religious leaders.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, former government chief whip Seán Kyne said the regulations that make the event at the Merrion Hotel legal “came into effect” on 5 July. It came under a statutory instrument that permits gatherings of 200 people outdoors with some exceptions, he said.

Senator Kyne said he “appreciated” that the communication from the government about what was allowed was “very poor, or didn’t happen at all, if you like”.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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