Q&A: Tickets, masks and certs – everything you need to know as nightclubs reopen

Music venues open their doors for the first time since March 2020

Clubbers at Tramline Nightclub in Dublin on Friday after coronavirus restrictions were eased and nightclubs reopened. Photograph: PA

Clubbers at Tramline Nightclub in Dublin on Friday after coronavirus restrictions were eased and nightclubs reopened. Photograph: PA

 

Nightclubs and most music venues reopened on Friday for the first time since March 2020.

The latest phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions proceeded despite a marked deterioration in the trajectory of the disease in the Republic over the past fortnight.

With some protective measures remaining in place, here’s everything you need to know if you are planning to go out.

Q: Do I need to book a ticket if I want to go to a nightclub?

From next week, yes. In something of a surprise development on Friday night, the Government has decided that from next week all events and nightclubs must be fully ticketed. Tickets must be allocated “in advance” of events taking place.

This could be anything from 24 to 72 hours, but we are not sure yet as regulations are being drafted to give effect to the decision.

Officials have said ticketing is required for the purposes of contact tracing for all nightclubs and venues.

Q: What is the view on the entertainment sector on the requirement for tickets?

They are not pleased. Industry groups have described the plans as “disastrous” and “totally unworkable”. There is also still confusion as to how these plans are going to be implemented. So the reaction can be filed, broadly under: “seriously?”

Q: Which restrictions have been loosened?

Nightclubs and music venues are now effectively able to operate at full capacity having been closed for nearly 600 days. Live music venues can allow up to 1,500 people standing at events, in addition to full seating capacity.

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated to attend a nightclub/live music event?

A digital Covid-19 pass is required for indoor hospitality and events. Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said hospitality businesses need to strictly follow requirements to ask customers for vaccination certificates.

How do you feel about the lifting of restrictions? Are you happy or do you think too much too soon?

Q: Do I have to wear a mask in a nightclub?

People are asked to wear masks when they are not eating, drinking or dancing. Queuing for drinks at bars and counters is allowed but beverages must be consumed elsewhere on the premises.

Clubbers outside Tramline Nightclub in Dublin on Friday after nightclubs reopened. Photograph: PA
Clubbers outside Tramline Nightclub in Dublin on Friday after nightclubs reopened. Photograph: PA

Q: What time will the venues stay open until?

Nightclubs are allowed to remain open late depending on the licence of the individual premises. The 11.30pm curfew for pubs has also been scrapped.

Q: Have all restrictions on restaurants/pubs been lifted then?

Not quite. Hospitality settings can have multiple table bookings with a maximum of 10 adults per table, as well as five people aged under 18.

People can queue at the bar, but they must be socially distanced and must then return to their table.

The guidelines also state physical distancing of at least one metre is considered “best practice” between tables.

Q: What about other changes – such as capacity limits for weddings?

Since Friday religious services and weddings can proceed without capacity limits but with all other protective measures remaining in place.

Q: Will there be a restriction on the numbers allowed at large outdoor events such as concerts or GAA matches?

Fixed capacity limits no longer apply for outdoor events and Covid-19 passes are not needed.

However, the guidelines state that organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place.

Q: What about the return to workplaces?

The full return to offices is being delayed until next spring in response to rising Covid-19 cases, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Employers should facilitate people working from home, he said, adding that if there are people who really wanted to return to the office, that should be facilitated too “if they can be in an office on their own or socially distanced from other people”.

Otherwise, the return to workplaces will continue on a “phased and cautious basis” for “specific business requirements” only.

Q: Are there any changes to international travel?

The requirements for proof of vaccination, immunity or a negative PCR test will remain in place for international travellers. People will also still be required to fill out a passenger locator form.

However, the Government said the mandatory hotel quarantine system for arrivals from certain countries is no longer considered necessary and will be wound down. Mandatory home quarantine requirements will also be removed.

Q: When will all remaining Covid-19 restrictions be lifted?

The latest recommendations from Nphet to Ministers said restrictions such as mask wearing and social distancing must remain in place until February 2022.

Speaking earlier this week, Mr Varadkar said: “The pandemic isn’t over yet. We’re going to have to get through at least another winter before we can say it’s behind us.”