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​Irish government backtracks on COVID restriction easing

They’re yet to confirm whether nightclubs can reopen from tomorrow

  • Gemma Ross
  • 21 October 2021
​Irish government backtracks on COVID restriction easing

The Irish government have put a "pause" on the scrapping of COVID-19 restrictions just a day ahead of the initial plans.

At the start of September, the government set an end date for almost all restrictions in Ireland by October 22. The lifting would allow for nightclubs to reopen without restrictions, while concert venues would no longer require audiences to be seated during live shows.

The news has been described as “devastating” by music industry figures, whose sector has been put on hold for almost two years.

Nightclubs in the country have now been closed for a total of 19 months - although it’s still unclear whether nightclubs will be able to open their doors again tomorrow, It's likely they be subject to limited capacity rules - or be forced to keep attendees seated.

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The government announced that the plan to ease all restrictions would only go ahead if 90% of over 16-year-olds were vaccinated by October 22, although while these statistics ring true today, the spike in the number of cases has pushed them to pause any further easing.

89% of those ages 12 or over are now vaccinated in Ireland. Cabinet ministers are now proposing to keep venues fully seated, although sports venues will be allowed to open at 100% capacity.

Following today’s announcement, many live shows due to go ahead after October 22 have now been cancelled. In a difficult time for those working in the music industry - in which thousands of jobs have already been lost over the past year - the uncertainty has worried many.

“There’s a bit of spin out there that there’s some good news here [but] make no mistake about it, today is a devastating day for the commercial live music business in Ireland,” tweeted MCD music promoter Shane Dunne last night.

Just yesterday afternoon, the Irish Times reported that the Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin, was setting out the blueprint for nightlife reopening.

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According to the paper, Martin was convinced that certain anomalies shown in favour of keeping nightclubs closed could be resolved, and the safe reopening could go ahead by tomorrow, October 22.

“My message to those who are engaged, to promoters, to venues, and to musicians, is to bear with us for another 24 hours. I am confident we will have a solution,” she said. “I am very aware of the needs of this industry and I am solution-focused.”

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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