Restrictions and social distancing rules will be lifted in Northern Ireland on October 31, meaning nightclubs will be able to open their doors for the first time in almost two years.
BBC News NI just announced the latest updates, where nightlife has currently been closed since March 2020.
It’s unclear yet whether vaccine passports or specific entry requirements will be needed for nightclubs and venues, but a ‘number of mitigations’ have apparently been agreed upon.
The BBC believes that vaccine certificates may be mandatory, while face coverings will still be required in some spaces, although if these are only optional, ministers worry that the use of face masks could go down by 30%.
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Currently, in Northern Ireland, pubs, bars, and restaurants are allowed to open but must operate with a one-metre social distancing rule. Industry figureheads have argued that this wouldn’t work in settings such as nightclubs.
The BBC spoke to a Derry bar owner, John Leighton, who told them that “It means we can get back to enjoying ourselves and not having so many things to think about. We can get back to a bit more normality."
He also added that the hospitality industry had been “waiting on” this news for “some time”, with Derry’s upcoming Halloween festival happening on October 31.
Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive, Colin Neill, asked last week for hospitality to start back up again with nightclubs opening at full capacity after the lockdown furlough ended for thousands across the country.
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He said, “unlike other sectors, many hospitality businesses have been severely restricted in capacity and nightclubs have remained totally closed for the longest period.
“This means staff were put on and have become reliant on the furlough scheme and owners have had no chance or opportunity to bring them back to full work.”
[Via BBC News NI]
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter