Nightclubs in Ireland will reopen at full capacity this weekend, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced their closure in March 2020.
With most COVID-19 measures being relaxed from today, punters will now be able to order a drink at the bar once again, while later closing times will also return at pubs, bars and music venues.
In addition to nightclubs being allowed to operate at 100% capacity once again, gig venues with a capacity of 1,500 people or less will also be allowed to host a fully standing audience. If a venue has more than 1,500 people inside, however, those exceeding the limit must remain seated.
Under the new rules, dancing inside venues without wearing a mask is also now allowed, and the curfew imposed on bars since July to ease people back into nightlife has been scrapped. Additionally, Special Exemption Orders fees for late bar licences have been dropped until the end of the year.
The finalisation of reopening measures in Ireland has come under some criticism, however, due to the last minute nature of the announcement.
"It's obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector," said The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) chief executive Padraig Cribben on Thursday, 21st October. "We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours."
The reopening date of 22nd October was initially set at the start of September, but question marks had remained over exactly what rules might stay in place or be scrapped until this week.
Revisit DJ Mag's longread on the fight for the future of Irish clubbing, originally published in May, here.