Northern Ireland has joined the rest of the United Kingdom in easing a number of COVID-19 restrictions.

However, the country will maintain the COVID-19 certification scheme for nightclubs, indoor unseated or partially seated events with 500 people or more. The COVID-19 certification scheme means that attendees will still have to provide proof of double vaccination against coronavirus.

Nightclubs will be allowed to open from Wednesday next week with dancing and indoor standing events also able to take place again.

Elsewhere and France is transitioning from the country’s health pass system to a COVID-19 pass scheme.

Proof of vaccination status will be required for events such as fairs, seminars and trade shows. Previously, residents could obtain the health pass by submitting a recent negative test, but this has been replaced by vaccination status.

Prime Minister Jean Castex also announced the further relaxation of measures in the country, with nightclubs opening from February 16.

From February 2, capacity limits on concert halls, sporting matches and other events will end. At present, events are limited to 2,000 attendees indoors and 5,000 outdoors. Eating and drinking will also be allowed again in stadiums and theatres from this date, with standing permitted in nightclubs and at sporting events.

In Germany, the federal association for the concert and event industry, BDKV, along with other bodies in the sector, have called for the extension of the short-time work allowance offered by the Government.

The scheme allowed companies to reduce the working hours of employees without having to lay them off and is due to end on March 31, with multiple restrictions still in place for events in the country.

The organisation has said that the ending of this scheme could result in a wave of redundancies in the event industry.

Marcus Pohl, first chairman of the interest group of independent service providers in the event industry (ISDV), said: “Our industry is economically hardest hit by the containment measures. Due to the now decided term until the end of March, the last employees who have remained loyal to the industry will have to be dismissed in the coming weeks.

“In the absence of any possibility of generating revenue and the resulting drop in sales of still over 80%, companies are no longer able to further finance salaries on their own.”

BDKV president Jens Michow added: “In the absence of any prospect of an unrestricted restart, the industry would continue to depend on state aid measures. The further extension of the short-time work allowance as well as the assumption of 100% of the social costs incurred by short-time work is currently the most urgent measure demanded by all companies.”

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