Nightlife group says reopening plan for the sector "long overdue"
The group has called for a starting date for all live events no later than October.
Give Us The Night, a group representing workers in the nightlife industry, has said a reopening plan from the Government for the sector is "long overdue".
The comments come as the sector has been closed for nearly a year and a half due to Covid-19 restrictions, with the group stating that the nightlife industry is "now the only remaining one without any date for return".
In a letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Arts Minister Catherine Martin, Give Us The Night founder Sunil Sharpe described the Government’s response to reopening the sector as "inadequate, inflexible and lacking a basic understanding of how the industry works".
"Ireland, despite its high rate of vaccine uptake, is the only European country that has made no concrete plans for the return of its events industry and venues," the letter reads.
"In the Government's 'The Path Ahead' document (published 29 April), it states that 'high-risk activities' such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs and mass gatherings/events (indoors and outdoors) would be considered in June.
"Having recently returned to indoor business, bars and restaurants were certainly considered, which we were very happy to see. However no meaningful consideration has been given to nightclubs or indoor and outdoor music events, nor was any clear update given."
Sharpe also said "little to no reference" has been made by the Government in relation to the events industry on rapid testing.
"The Government has also piloted large sports events, where attendances have been steadily rising to now tens of thousands per match. Again, we fully support this, but wonder why our industry is now the only remaining one without any date for return," the founder added.
In the letter, Sharpe outlined 13 points Give Us The Night wants to see addressed in a reopening plan.
- A guarantee of non-socially distanced trial events in September irrespective of Covid-19 case numbers.
- A lifting of the ban on dancing at all live events (indoors and outdoors), to take effect as soon as possible.
- A lifting of the ban on live and loud music.
- A starting date for all live events (with the removal of social distancing) including music venues and nightclubs, no later than the beginning of October.
- Assurance that events and venues will not have to close immediately if Covid-19 case numbers rise in the future.
- Acknowledgement from the Government that a continued shutdown of events and entertainment venues will result in an upsurge of unregulated events, increasing the chance of the virus spreading this winter.
Last week, Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin said she hopes the Government will be in a position to give a "clear signal" on a reopening plan for the live entertainment sector by the end of August.
You can read Give Us The Night's letter to Government in full below.
Irish venues, nightclubs and music events are being disregarded, and more closures are certain if this continues. We wrote to @MichealMartinTD @LeoVaradkar @cathmartingreen laying out a range of necessary measures to help our industry reopen safely and swiftly. pic.twitter.com/cDstl6fCP1
— Give Us The Night (@GiveUsTheNight) August 5, 2021