‘We will keep dancing’ – Uproar as government enhance night club restrictions

By Leigha O Reilly Hughes 

With the new restrictions hitting the hospitality sector once again, Leigha O’Reilly Hughes reports on the updates and how the nightclubs adopted new guidelines to keep their doors open.

Ceiling of a nightclub only recently opened back up – image by Leigha O’Reilly Hughes

The government has announced new closing times for nightclubs, pubs and restaurants. From Thursday the 18th of November, they must close at midnight. This is due to the high number of COVID cases the country is experiencing.

It has been less than a month since the curfew of 11:30 was lifted on pubs and restaurants and nightclubs were given the go ahead to open their doors.

Nightclubs were the last to open since the pandemic hit in 2020. They were closed for more than 18 months. 

Nightclubs were given specific guidance in order to open back up to the public. Covid passes are mandatory for entrance, face masks are to be worn except for when dancing, drinking or eating, and pre-bought tickets were also needed to gain entry. 

These rules were put in place for protective measures to help avoid a surge in cases of Covid-19 cases. 

The new restrictions were issued due to the high number of daily Covid-19 cases, as well as the hospital and ICU numbers. On the day the restrictions were announced there were 4,407 new cases confirmed by the Department of Health. There were 614 people in hospital, with 114 of them being in the ICU.

The new restrictions have been a major hit for nightclubs. They were the last in the country to open and are now being forced to close their doors early. 

Many nightclubs have taken to social media to announce the restrictions, while also showing how they feel about the situation. 

Tramline, a nightclub located on D’Olier Street in Dublin took to Instagram to say “We will keep dancing.”

“We are devastated at today’s government announcement. We have followed every guideline and put every safety measure in place. We have opened our doors and provided purpose to countless staff and artists over the past 3 weeks,” says the Instagram post.

“We are devastated,” says Caoimhe, the creative director and social media manager in Tramline. 

“In order to open, we had rules of queue systems, masks enforced in certain areas, tickets sold in advance and Covid isolation areas. This was all a massive change we had to take on as a team,” says Caoimhe. 

“With the new restrictions, venues must close at midnight. This halves the shift times for our staff, lessens the experience for customers and limits any real progress we have made.”

Caoimhe also expresses how closing the nightclubs early can be dangerous for those who enjoy nightlife. 

“In Tramline we have toilet facilities, security, trained medical staff and access to emergency services. The above cannot be said about the illegal raves and after parties that will now happen. This is where our clubbers will go.”

People have also taken to social media to express how they feel about the new restrictions for nightclubs. 

People feel as though the hospitality and arts sector, as well as young people are being left behind by the government once again.

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