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Ireland's Clubs To Close Again Due To New COVID-19 Measures
Christian Eede , December 6th, 2021 14:09

Clubs have only been open a matter of weeks since the end of the country's first lockdown

Nightclubs and other music venues in the Republic of Ireland must close again following the introduction of new COVID-19 regulations by the government.

Ireland's Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed a new set of measures in response to rising COVID-19 rates in Ireland, as well as the threat of the new Omicron variant. Under the new restrictions, clubs and gig venues must close entirely, only six weeks after they were given the green light to fully reopen again following the end of the nation's previous COVID-19 lockdown.

Other key restrictions include the rule that private home visits can only involve up to four households, while indoor seated events such as concerts will only be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. Pubs, hotels and restaurants must operate table service only, and masks should also be worn at all times when not at a table. The new measures come into place from December 7, and will remain in law, for now, until January 9, 2022.

Announcing the measures, Martin said the "risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions to reduce the volume of personal contacts are just too high," though he also described the reintroduction of certain rules as precautionary and insisted they were not a return to the full lockdown of the last 21 months.

Responding to the closure of clubs and music venues, Give Us The Night, a group which has campaigned for greater support for Ireland's nightlife industry, said: "When your party's policies have done so much damage to the nightclub industry over the years, a decision like today was evidently water off a duck's back for the Taoiseach. Disappointing decision, but predictable all the same."

Suggesting that the nightlife industry had been made a scapegoat with restrictions particularly affecting those within the sector, the group added: "A tremendously compliant industry for six weeks since the so-called reopening. No outbreaks, restricted to the hilt (to the point that some venues remained shut or closed again), yet nightclubs – of those we still have left – are still targeted by [the National Public Health Emergency Team]/government.

"Remember – numbers were on the rise as we opened and [the] virus has stabilised before we shut. What damage have nightclubs done in that time? Nightclubs should be nowhere near today's headlines. Weak and totally premature decision which hasn't been justified at all."

Ireland joins a number of nations around Europe, including Germany, France and Austria, in closing nightclubs once again due to concerns around rising COVID-19 rates and the Omicron variant.