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Sasko Lazarov

Updated hospitality guidelines: Maskless dancing and tickets to access nightclubs

Ticketing requirement will take effect from next week and will not impact on venues opening this weekend.

UPDATED GUIDELINES for hospitality and live entertainment sectors have been published this evening, with most taking effect from today.

All remaining Covid-19 restrictions were planned to be lifted today but a rise in cases and increased hospitalisations meant hospitality and live entertainment opened subject to restrictions with guidelines on how they can operate.

Following meetings with industry representatives yesterday, the government confirmed nightclubs could operate at 100% capacity and that a standing capacity of 1,500 would be permitted for live music events.

Ordering drinks at a bar will now also be allowed, but people will have to return to their seats with their drinks. 

The guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland this evening state the following:

  • 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 a photo ID. Customers unable to provide the required evidence of vaccination or immunity following recovery may access outdoor hospitality only.
  • Full capacity is permissible at nightclub venues, as is dancing without masks.
  • Venues can operate at full capacity, but are asked to “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”.
  • Ticketing will be required, for the purposes of contact tracing, for all nightclubs and venues  – regulations are 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.
  • Up to 1,500 standing patrons can attend live music events, and any capacity above this number must be fully seated.
  • Socially distanced bar service is permitted for drink orders and collection.
  • Multiple table bookings in a general hospitality setting are allowed (a maximum of 15 per table, of which max 10 may be adults). However, such events must be fully seated, with food and drinks to be consumed at the table.
  • Weddings can operate without any capacity restrictions. Table capacities are the same as those for general hospitality (above).
  • 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.

Commenting on the updated guidelines, Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said Covid-19 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”. 

Martin added that 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”.

 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 updated guidance can be read in full here.

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