Government asks for "another 24 hours" on nightlife sector reopening plan 1 month ago

Government asks for "another 24 hours" on nightlife sector reopening plan

"I'm confident we will find a solution."

Minister for Arts and Culture Catherine Martin has asked for patience from the public as confusion still reigns over how live events and nightclubs can operate from this coming weekend.

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Tuesday's formal announcement from the Government saw the outlining of updated restrictions – all of which are available here – as the reopening of the country moves into its next phase from Friday.

Questions remain for the live entertainment and nightlife sectors, in particular.

Mass confusion followed Tuesday's announcement, with many people speculating how the return of nightclubs can successfully unfold with protective measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing remaining in place.

"What traditionally happens in a nightclub will happen in a nightclub," noted Taoiseach Micheál Martin, matter-of-factly, during the address.

"There are going to be anomalies and there are going to be contradictions," added Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Industry figures have since called on the government to provide definitive clarity for their sector, especially when it comes to live gigs that have previously sold tickets for a standing-only event.

The current guidance from government states that indoor live music, drama, entertainment and sporting events should remain fully-seated, though punters are permitted to stand at their seat.

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That guidance, along with general government communication on Tuesday, indicates that a specific plan for the entertainment sector has yet to be fully developed or delivered to the relevant parties.

Faced with questions on the above on Wednesday afternoon, Minister Catherine Martin underlined that her department is mindful of the notably tight deadline.

Martin told reporters that she is optimistic about solving the problem in time.

"Bear with us for another 24 hours," she said.

"I'm confident we will find a solution."

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A formal announcement is expected on Thursday, addressing the possibility of select gigs going ahead with people standing.

Minister Martin underlined that nightclub attendees will not have to wear masks while dancing, as per the government's previous communication.

"Specific sectoral guidance will be developed for nightclubs setting out appropriate protective measures," noted a statement on Tuesday.

"This will involve Covid-19 passes, contact tracing data collection and wearing of face masks except when eating, drinking and dancing."

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Meanwhile, Labour leader Alan Kelly provoked some mirth in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday when he asked about Taoiseach Micheál Martin's recent nightclub experience.

Featured Image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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