Pubs with live music will not be subjected to new guidelines around ticketing, it has emerged.
The Government has defended new requirements which would see all live music events and late-night hospitality ticketed. Attendees will also have to display photographic ID and a Covid certificate proving vaccination or immunity.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has described the new rules as "a disaster" for late bars, nightclubs and musicians. Questions have also been raised about how live music in pubs would be regulated under the plans.
A spokesman for Minister for Culture Catherine Martin confirmed that tickets will only be required for venues operating for the purposes of live entertainment or nightclubs.
“The ticketing requirement does not apply to other hospitality venues, for example, pubs operating under their usual licence with some music for patrons to enjoy while seated at tables,” he said.
It is also understood that if a pub wants to allow dancing in the way that nightclubs or live venues do, they will need the relevant licences and they will have to be ticketed. Where there is live music but no dancing, no tickets will be needed.
The Department of Enterprise and the Department of Tourism, Arts and Culture will meet on Tuesday morning to work through issues which have emerged around the guidelines, and new regulations will be published during the week.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have said the guidelines would lead to confusion among both staff and customers and would be impossible to implement, while concerns have been cited around measures requiring tickets to be given to patrons “in advance” of an event. The LVA said requiring tickets to be available up to 72 hours in advance would be “completely unmanageable”.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Tourism, Arts and Culture said that Government regulations will stipulate that tickets must be purchased in advance for live events and nightclubs where attendees are not seated “in order to facilitate contact tracing and to avoid massed congregation outside venues from walk-up customers.”
“No minimum advance purchase time period has been specified and the department will continue to engage with the sector, on this and other reopening issues, to identify an approach that is practicable for the sector but that will also help to achieve the good public health outcomes.”
Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said on Sunday that "there are anomalies" and "there are things to be ironed out and we will continue to do that".
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics show, she said the Government was trying to move to a situation where the country can live with Covid-19.
“The measures that have been brought in in relation to ticketing . . . I think people have been socialising anyway, we have seen hordes of people on the streets.”
“I know there has been some dissatisfaction [with ticketing]. Ticketing will iron itself out, but it is important that we do have that contact tracing information that we would not have had otherwise”.
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said the Government had failed to engage with affected sectors and had failed to plan adequately. "Then we have this complete shambles. What needed to happen is that we have this discussion a number of weeks ago with the sector to see if we need to introduce a ticketing system, how will that work and how will that be effective."
“The Government is refusing to share the type of information that is required in relation to the public health advice that is underpinning this.”
Mr Carthy continued: “What needed to happen is they . . . have this discussion with the sector a number of weeks ago to see if we need to introduce a ticketing system, how would that work and how would that be effective.
“Instead we have a situation where business owners were actually trying to manage a big logistical challenge in terms of their first night reopening, and then hear the guidelines are going to be different within a number of days.
“That is just not fair on anybody involved and undermines public confidence that the Government knows what they are doing.”
Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon said the Government had been guilty of “bad communication”.
He said: “Last week we had industry representatives in a room with Government and everyone came away with different understandings of the rules and what was going to happen.
“Bad communication during the pandemic is simply unforgiveable from the Government.” – Additional reporting: PA