- 01 Sep 21
Live music is set to return next week, with venues operating at a reduced capacity.
In an announcement yesterday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin discussed the Government's plan for reopening society over the coming days and weeks – including the gradual easing of restrictions on live events.
Here's what to expect:
From Monday, September 6:
Organised indoor events and mass gatherings can take place, operating at 60% of the venue's capacity, where all attendees are immune (fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months), or accompanied minors.
For groups of mixed immunity status, there will be no change to the current restrictions in September.
For indoor live music, drama, live entertainment and sporting events, the audience should be fully seated.
Cinemas and theatres will also be operating at 60% of the venue's capacity, where all attendees are immune (fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months), or accompanied minors.
Live music at weddings will be permitted. There will be no change to the current limits (100 guests) during September.
Organised outdoor events and mass gatherings can take place, operating at 75% of the venue's capacity, where all attendees are immune (fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months), or accompanied minors.
Where attendees have mixed immunity status, the capacity limit will be 50%, and subject to protective measures like social distancing between groups and face masks.
The easing of capacity limit restrictions does not apply to large privately organised social events.
From 20 September:
Organised indoor group activities (sports, arts, culture, dance classes) can take place with capacity limits of 100 people (with protective measures) where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months), or accompanied minors.
Where patrons have mixed immunity status, pods of up to six participants will be permitted (excluding leaders/teachers).
The number of pods depends on the size of venue and substantial social distancing between the individual pods.
Restrictions on outdoor group activities for participants will be removed, though spectator attendance will remain in line with regulations for events.
From 22 October:
Further restrictions will be lifted, including:
- requirements for physical distancing
- requirements for mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings
- limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities
- restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies
- limits on numbers that can meet in private homes/gardens
- certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (with exception of international travel)
- restrictions on nightclubs (at some point in September, a pilot night club event will take place)
Although many welcome the news of a gradual return to live music, several people in the industry have pointed out that it's not feasible for many venues to operate at a reduced capacity of 60%.
"Our business is built on running safe events, both in nightclubs and live concert events," promoter Buzz O'Neill Maxwell told RTÉ News yesterday. "It doesn't work financially for anybody at less than 80%. So a lot of venues, including this venue here, wouldn't be able to open. Your costs to open the doors just wouldn't work at the 60% that's proposed."
In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland called for support as live music returns at reduced capacity.
"Our industry will not be fully reopened until we achieve 100% capacity," they said. "Our industry will still display the scars of the financial hardship and mental health struggles many of us have endured and now, more than ever, we need our Government to listen to our voices and support us well into 2022.
"We need that support so we can build our businesses, build our and your confidence, but most importantly, so we can build, upon our rich and proud heritage and culture, an industry that is bigger, brighter, bolder than ever before."