“How are we going to survive”? Pub and club owners say they are devastated by ‘ridiculous’ Covid-19 measures

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New ‘discriminatory’ public health measures have been announced for the hospitality and event sectors that have left industries with ‘less clarity than ever’.

While the hospitality, entertainment and nightlife economy sectors may reopen fully on Friday, they can only do so with “the full range of safeguards in place.”

Affected industries have called the “puzzling” measures “insane”.

These include allowing full capacity for indoor and outdoor live events, but requiring the audience to be seated. People can only stand or dance for them in these places. But nightclubs allow you to dance, unmasked. And table service will always be required for all hospitality venues other than nightclubs.

Shane Dunne, managing director of Cork’s Indiependence music festival and promoter at MCD Productions, called the new measures “discriminatory”. “Today is a devastating day for the commercial live music industry in Ireland,” he wrote on Twitter.

“It’s getting more and more ridiculous. You can [have] 300 people on a club dance floor but not on the Whelans floor?

“Can anyone explain the science behind standing in a club is okay and standing at a concert is not okay?” ” He asked.

DJ Stevie Grainger, aka Stevie G, said he was “even more confused” about what to expect from his industry following today’s government announcement. While the measures are unlikely to impact his free concerts at Cork’s River Lee Hotel on Friday and Sunday nights during the Cork Jazz Festival, he said the announcement made life difficult for music promoters in all the countries.

“If the people running the shows can’t understand what’s going on, how can they explain it to others? It is very confusing. There is less clarity than ever now, ”he said.

Ed O’Leary of The Good Room who has concerts including Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) booked for this weekend in Cork, also said the measures were confusing.

“There are a lot of mixed messages. You can dance in a nightclub, but you cannot in a hall unless you are next to your seat. Again, it was not thought out correctly.

“It is good news that we are able to operate at full capacity. But it is very late now. Mr. O’Leary and his team are now required to email all ticket holders to explain that if they don’t have a Covid Pass, they can’t come to the site as the requirement to show a Covid pass before entering indoor sites has been extended.

“We will have a number of refunds to make without a doubt,” he said.

“People from all over the country come to Cork for Jazz Weekend. People have booked a show and they are not sure if they can go now. It is very frustrating.”

Ger Kiely, owner of Cyprus Avenue concert hall in Cork and Old Oak bar, said his area was in chaos following “absurd” government decisions.

“These are decisions made by people who have no understanding of the industry,” he said.

“We were told we can run at full capacity, but you can’t sit upright at full capacity, that would be a fire hazard.

“Seating concerts reduce capacity to less than 50%. You can’t run concerts at less than 50% capacity, you just can’t cover your costs, ”Kiely said.

“What do we do with the acts we booked this weekend?” What do we tell our staff? Do we tell them all, “Can’t we afford to pay you?” ”

“What do we do with all the people who have booked tickets with us? Do we reimburse everyone, sit on our hands and do nothing?

“Months and months of work have gone into this weekend alone. We need an income, we haven’t had an income for 18 months.

“How are we going to survive? “

However, concerns that Christmas parties may have to be canceled because no more than 10 adults can be seated at a table in hospitality areas have been assuaged somewhat by Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

“If you can organize black tie events for up to 100 people for business events, which has happened in the past with IBEC, Christmas parties can certainly happen now if they call them ‘business events. “. People will use their own ingenuity to comply with the directive, ”he said.

He called on Fáilte Ireland to “step back” from negotiations with the government on behalf of the hotel industry and “leave the professionals there” to liaise with policymakers instead.

The announcement that pubs must continue with mandatory table service while not allowing patrons to sit or stand at the bar until February at the earliest is a devastating blow to an industry that expected to see all restrictions removed this week, the Federation of Irish Vintners (VFI) said.

And maintaining the restrictions will result in further pub closures as mandatory table service drastically reduces venues capacity, the PFD warned.


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