Will the clubs be reopening on October 22? Here's what we know so far 1 month ago

Will the clubs be reopening on October 22? Here's what we know so far

It's the age old question - will the clubs be reopening as planned on October 22?

Well, in fairness, we've only been asking it for the past couple of weeks, because before then it seemed as if they were, indeed, going to be opening, as planned, as we were all told by the government, as expected.

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But over the last while, the eventual reopening of Ireland's clubs on October 22 has been called into question.

With rising Covid numbers and mild warnings from the government concerning the number of people who still need to be vaccinated, promoters, artists, and workers alike are sharing their concerns regarding the promised reopening of the sector.

So, what do we know so far?

Will the clubs be reopening on October 22?

As of today (October 18), we don't know for sure. The government are set to meet with NPHET today to discuss the reopening of Ireland's nightlife sector, as well as new opening hours for pubs.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will then give a formal announcement tomorrow (October 19) regarding the situation.

Although many have expressed their concern around the possibility of a delayed reopening, the Irish Mirror reports that clubs will probably open as planned, but with vaccine passes remaining mandatory for entry. 

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Martin said: "We do not want to go back, and we are not contemplating going backwards. The only issue facing us now is going forward."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said earlier this month that he also couldn't "rule out" some restrictions staying for a bit longer due to the number of people who remain unvaccinated.

"It is a personal choice, but the truth is that, if everyone in Ireland was fully vaccinated, we would probably have approximately 25 people in ICU and 200 in hospital overall today, and there would be no question about easing restrictions on 22 October," he said.

When are the government going to make a decision?

Government officials will meet with the National Public Health Emergency Team today to discuss the reopening of Ireland's nightlife sector.

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Micheál Martin will then speak to the Cabinet regarding a decision. Although the Taoiseach will be delivering a formal address tomorrow, Tuesday, we may have an idea later this evening, Monday, as to what decision has been made.

Immunologist Professor Luke O'Neill told RTÉ today that the government must "get on with it" and that if antigen tests were more common, reopening wouldn't be an issue.

"October 22nd is our next moment and they must reopen the nightclubs for definite," he said.  If we don't we are just keeping them closed to protect the unvaccinated."

"You will spot 80% of cases with antigen testing. It is a shame we haven't got them in every household."

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What did the government originally say about the clubs reopening?

Over the summer, Micheál Martin said that depending on vaccine rates, Ireland's clubs would be reopening at full capacity on October 22.

This date was initially set as that on which the vast majority of Ireland's Covid restrictions would be lifted entirely, with the need for vaccine passes becoming mute except for international travel. 

As it stands, indoor venues are currently permitted to open to 60% of their capacity for people who are fully vaccinated, while outdoor venues can use up to 75% capacity for those who are vaccinated.

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Ireland currently has a vaccine rate of almost 90%, one of the highest in the European Union.