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Revised nightclub regulations: Isolation rooms and one-metre social distance in bar queues

Late-night venues will need to have the ticketing system ready for customers tomorrow.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via RollingNews.ie

Updated Oct 28th 2021, 6:59 PM

PATRONS OF NIGHTCLUBS and late-night events will have to adhere to a one-metre social distancing rule when queuing for the bar under revised guidelines published this evening.

The government announced new proposals for the sector on Tuesday evening, which stated that ticketing for nightclubs and events will be electronic and will need to be booked by patrons at least an hour in advance. This rule comes into effect tomorrow. 

Tickets must also contain personal details to allow for “robust contact tracing”.

Updated regulations published today, bringing the new rules into effect, state that from tomorrow customers may only approach the bar to order, pay for or collect food or drinks.

One-metre social distancing must be observed in the queue, and be supervised by an employee.

The regulations also suggest that smoking areas may too require monitoring and management to prevent overcrowding.

Facemasks should be worn at all times by staff, and by customers who are not dancing, drinking or eating.

In the case of a premise turning into a nightclub or late-night venue, customers who are present during the change over won’t have to leave but must still get an electronic ticket.

Regulations also outline that performers should not be permitted to partake in “high-risk activities” such as crowd surfing, moving through the crowd or throwing personal items into the crowd.

For patrons who are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, organisers should provide isolation rooms to facilitate the person remaining in isolation prior to going home, or to facilitate the attendance of a doctor.

Event organisers are also advised to develop a media strategy in the event of a positive Covid-19 case or outbreak following an event.

“This may take the form of a holding statement with a few key points and information. This will assist in protecting the reputation of both venue and organisers and provide reassure to patrons,” the regulations state.

Teething problems

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

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Speaking to The Journal in Ashbourne in Co Meath on Tuesday, 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”.

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. 

With reporting by Cónal Thomas and Christina Finn.

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