Publicans call for grace period before introduction of new ticketing rules

ireland
Publicans Call For Grace Period Before Introduction Of New Ticketing Rules Publicans Call For Grace Period Before Introduction Of New Ticketing Rules
Government officials and industry stakeholders are to meet on Tuesday morning to finalise plans for how nightclubs and late-night venues will operate. Photo: Getty Images.
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Digital Desk Staff

Publicans are calling for a grace period before the introduction of new ticketing guidelines mandated for the live music sector in light of Covid-19.

Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, Donal O’Keeffe, said requiring ticketing in advance could be very difficult for some pubs that provide live music and many would opt out of such a system - which would mean no work for musicians.

It comes as Government officials and industry stakeholders are to meet on Tuesday morning to finalise plans for how nightclubs and late-night venues will operate in the coming months.

Mr O’Keeffe told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland it was unacceptable that four days after the guidelines were announced, after being closed for 585 days, the guidelines had still not been fully confirmed.

He said the sector had been delighted to be back trading at the weekend, but that “a bombshell” had been dropped on them on Friday evening about the requirement for ticketing. “There are a lot of anomalies,” he added.

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The hospitality sector already had a system in place at the door for collecting data, that should be sufficient, he said. There had been a heavy level of inspection over the weekend. “That’s something we’ve been calling for.”

The role of regulation and sanction should fall to the Government, added Mr O’Keeffe.

The guidelines needed to be clarified today, he said. There should be a two-week grace period as late bars tended to be large venues and they would need time to prepare their systems.

Sticking points

As The Irish Times reports, the Department of Enterprise and the Department of Arts and Culture will hold a meeting on new guidelines which will also be attended by groups representing pubs, nightclubs and live venues.

One of the major sticking points is the requirement for venues to give patrons tickets which must be secured ahead of the event taking place.

Under the plan tickets must be purchased in advance for live events and nightclubs where attendees are not seated “in order to facilitate contact tracing and to avoid massed congregation outside venues from walk-up customers”.

Clarity will be sought on Tuesday in relation to how far in advance tickets must be given.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, regulations will be drawn up to give effect to the guidelines.

Increased activity

In terms of how the first weekend had gone, “the initial reaction has been one of happiness”, with increased activity and the return of live performers, a spokesman for the LVA earlier said. “However, there remains significant uncertainty around the upcoming regulations, which the sector operated without this weekend.”

While pubs with live music will not be obliged to run a ticketing system, this will only be the case where patrons are seated.

If a pub wants to allow dancing in the way that nightclubs or live venues do, they will need the relevant licences, and they will have to be ticketed.

Industry stakeholders have called for the new regulations to be published by Tuesday evening.

The Department of Health reported a further 1,845 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the seven-day daily average to 2,148, an increase of 23 per cent in a week.

There were 497 people with Covid-19 in hospital on Sunday, up from 484 a week ago, and 99 in intensive care units, up from 73 a week ago.

Four more people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, and another 1,019 cases of the viruses were confirmed.

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