Pilot live events to take place in June and July, Minister confirms

Reopening of major sectors will be steady over summer, says Taoiseach

The Government will make an announcement on reopening plans on Friday. Photograph: iStock

The Government will make an announcement on reopening plans on Friday. Photograph: iStock

 

Pilot live events of varying sizes will take place across the country in June and July including rock, classical and comedy gigs as well both indoor and outdoor theatre events.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts Catherine Martin said she was working on the finer details of the pilot events such as whether the tickets will go on general release and if antigen testing will have a role.

“I’m compiling a list of a number of live events right across the country to cover a variety of music genres from rock to classical and also comedy and of course theatre, indoors and outdoors. The numbers will vary according to the type of the event or the venue,” Ms Martin said.

While she said that she could not speculate on the exact numbers that would be in attendance, it is understood they will vary between the low hundreds and more than 1,000.

“I think these these live events are key to to reopening for a sector that has been absolutely devastated and I want to see their doors open for good and people earn a living again.”

Ms Martin said she was also working on test events in sports alongside Minister of State Jack Chambers.

“I would like to see some of these events in June so my hope is June and July,” she said of the timing adding: “the sooner the better in order to get to a reopening”.

Ms Martin was speaking at the launch of In Form, a two-year collaboration between the National Museum of Ireland and the Design and Crafts Council Ireland.

Earlier, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the reopening of major sectors over the next two months would be “steady”.

The Government will make an announcement on reopening plans on Friday, with much anticipation around dates for travel, indoor hospitality and live events.

Two Cabinet meetings will take place later this week where the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) latest public health advice will be considered.

“We will outline what is possible, what we feel is possible for June and July in respect of travel for example, in respect for hospitality, and indeed live entertainment and the arts,” Mr Martin told the Today with Claire Byrne programme.

“We may try some events in June and then see what’s possible in July, but we will take Nphet’s advice.

“It’s steady as she goes to the end of this month, it’ll be steady in June. We’ll see what’s possible in July.”

While it is hoped indoor hospitality in restaurants and pubs will be allowed to resume in early July, Mr Martin cast some doubt on the exact dates.

“I think people need just to hold it and I can understand people from different sectors, they’re suffering and it’s had a huge negative impact, they have lost a lot of income, they haven’t worked,” Mr Martin added.

“That sector [hospitality] has suffered the most. We will make a comprehensive statement in terms of timelines and so forth.

“For the summer, outdoors is best and indoor has been challenging from the get-go.

“I think let’s make the progress we’re making and continue to make it.

“That gives everybody the best guarantee of a more sustained opening into the future.”

Digital green certificate

The Government is also set to give further consideration this week to the EU digital green certificate allowing foreign travel.

Under the proposals, people will receive a digital pass that can be scanned at an airport, indicating they have either been vaccinated, produced a negative Covid-19 test or have recovered from the virus.

The move, to be signed off by EU leaders at the meeting this week, could pave the way for summer holidays.

It is due to be introduced on July 1st, but member states will have the option of a six-week grace period before implementing the measures.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he hoped Ireland would give effect to the initiative at some point in July.

“I hope that Ireland can be an early adopter, from when this is introduced on July 1st,” Mr Coveney said.

“I don’t expect it to take effect from the first of July but I certainly hope that we will be able to benefit from removing restrictions on international travel for many people who are travelling, perhaps not everybody, but for many people at some point in July.

“We will be making decisions on that and giving more clarity in relation to it on Friday.”

Ms Martin also said that Ireland should be aiming to implement the pending EU green cert as soon as possible.

If it can be done within a fortnight of its planned EU start date, which is the end of June, then it should be, she said.

“If it can be done then that’s what we should be aiming for, but it all depends on public health advice. I know that inbound tourism is crucial. We launched the domestic tourism campaign last week and that was worth maybe €2.5 billion before Covid, but it cannot replace international tourism, it’s crucial to the industry and I know that from my engagement with them so I’d be advocating for that.”

Asked if travel to the UK and US should be allowed under the same conditions when the green cert is approved, she indicated that this could be further out in the timeline.

“It depends on what is safe to do. American tourists coming in is crucial so as soon as we can open up and it’s safe to do so, I’m advocating for that. But that might be a little more further away than EU travel.” Additional reporting: – PA