After what at least feels like an eternity of relentless restrictions, it is finally happening. The Irish government has confirmed that nightclubs across the country will once again be able to open their doors from October 22.
Best of all, this date represents the full reopening of nightclubs and venues in Ireland, not some half-baked approximation of a reopening.
The date was confirmed by the Irish government as part of its four-stage strategy for easing restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Clubbing falls within the bracket of “high risk activities” due to the number of people present in an enclosed space, making it one of the final parts of the plan to restore normal life.
However, the government has made it clear that the October 22 date is conditional on the success of the ongoing vaccine rollout across Ireland.
6am Curfew Could Also Be Introduced for Pubs and Nightclubs
Sweetening what could already be a pretty sweet date on the calendar, Minister for Culture Catherine Martin also confirmed that the bars and clubs permitted to reopen on October 22 could stay open until 6am.
As part of an interview with the Irish Mirror, she said that the “opportunity should be there” for those looking to stay open until the wee hours.
“I think shutting down, Dublin, we’re working way behind our other European cities,” she said.
“It can be done, it can be done in a safe way and I think that option definitely should be there.”
Whether or not the plan goes ahead could be influenced heavily by an upcoming pilot nightclub event, set to take place at the Button Factory in Dublin on September 30. The first pilot of its kind organised to date, approximately 60% of the venues maximum capacity (450 people) will be permitted for an all-standing show, with dancing and fraternising permitted.
Depending on what happens, the sector could subsequently be set for a spectacular restart on October 22. Though again, the whole thing is dependent on the country’s vaccination rate reaching 90% of all over 16s, in order for the current restrictions to be lifted.
“We think we’re not far away from a point whereby all of the criteria we set out in our advice to government, which is accepted as a basis for moving towards our next phase in terms of management of the pandemic,” said CMO Dr Tony Holohan at a Department of Health press conference.
Ireland’s public transport system was officially restarted at full capacity again this week. Music venues are currently able to operate at 50% capacity for guests who are unvaccinated, or 60% capacity for vaccinated adults.
In addition, all indoor life music events must remain fully seated for the time being.