Irish live venue and nightclub operators will have to ensure that customers have purchased a ticket at least one hour in advance of an event, with the regulations coming into force today (Thursday). 

The Irish Government recently updated the COVID-19 guidelines and venues and nightclubs were allowed to open last Friday. Nightlife industry representatives had asked for a grace period for implementing the new ticketing rules, but the Government has said this will not be happening. 

Events must be ticketed in order to facilitate contact tracing at live events and in nightclubs, though a requirement for a ticket will be determined by whether or not dancing will be taking place, rather than based solely on live music happening.  

Customers will not be able to congregate at doors and only ticket holders will be allowed in the queue outside the venues. 

For live performances, up to 1,500 patrons may stand but the remaining audience members must be sitting down. 

If the entire audience is seated, a 100% capacity is allowed. For events that do wish to go ahead with a combination of seating and standing, the standing capacity is restricted to 1,500 and any additional capacity beyond 1,500 must be fully seated. 

There are no capacities in place for nightclubs however.

While these venues can return to full capacity with the subject of standing limits for live events, the Irish Government said in the published guidelines that it is important for the venue operator to determine what is a safe capacity and ‘how they can best operate in the interest of protecting public health’. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre was yesterday notified of a further 1,631 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland, with 503 COVID-19 patients hospitalised and 101 of those being in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health in Ireland, said: “Incidence of COVID-19 is increasing at a concerning rate. The seven-day moving average is now 2,043, up from 1,138 only three weeks ago. Incidence is increasing across all age groups, highest in those aged 5-12 years. 

“A combination of higher levels of social contact, a move to socialisation indoors and a collective relaxing of basic public health behaviours combined has led to this surge of infection.”

He added: “The importance of individual, institutional and sectoral attention to risk mitigation is crucial at this point. I encourage all of us to ensure we are following basic public health advice and to expect the presence of infection prevention control measures in settings we visit.”

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