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New guidelines released for the nightlife sector hours before clubs reopen

New guidelines released for the nightlife sector hours before clubs reopen

A meeting took place this evening on finalising guidelines for the reopening of nightclubs - just hours before they're to reopen.

The Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture has published the updated guidelines before doors open.

The updated guidelines, which take effect from today, 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.

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• At live music events, up to 1,500 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.

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• 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

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The Department says the new measures will be reviewed in three weeks, with Minister Catherine Martin adding that “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."

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