New guidelines for the reopening of nightclubs and live music venues have been finalised following discussions on Thursday evening.
Minister for Culture Catherine Martin confirmed to RTÉ that a limit of 1,500 people will be permitted to stand in live venues, along with a 100 per cent seated capacity. Ms Martin has also indicated nightclubs will reopen at 100 per cent capacity.
The Irish Times reports the Government has also made a major concession by dropping the requirement that those attending a concert would not be permitted to leave their seats.
For hospitality businesses, multiple table bookings will be allowed, however, the 10-person limit per table will remain. The 11.30pm closing time has also been scrapped.
Customers will be able to order at the bar, but social distancing must be observed and after ordering they must return to their tables.
A strong emphasis has also been placed on enforcement, with venues required to check Covid certs, while people will also have to wear masks when they are not eating, drinking, or dancing.
The finalised measures come after discussions between groups representing restaurants, publicans, hotels, and live music venues and representatives from the Department of Tourism and the Department of Enterprise.
Following the agreement, Fáilte Ireland is expected to publish the new guidelines and the measures will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), one of the groups involved in this evening's discussions, said that while anomalies remain in the guidelines for pubs, "the partial reopening of bar counters is a welcome development that will ease the staffing burden on publicans".
"Anomalies remain in the guise of 100 per cent capacity permitted in nightclubs while social distancing in pubs will significantly reduce capacity in those venues," the group added.
VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben welcomed the reopening of nightclubs, but said the difference in capacity limits between businesses "will lead to a farcical situation where 1,000 people can dance or stand round drinking in a nightclub, but a smaller number of customers cannot sit at the bar of their local pub or, indeed, play darts or pool."
"It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector," Mr Cribben argued.
"We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours," he added.