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‘It’s a positive energy’: Nightclub owners prepare to welcome back revellers

The Government has promised to give clarity to businesses and customers, as nightclubs across the country prepare to re-open on Friday night.

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Gustavo Costa, a staff member at Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre, at the entrance to the venue as it prepares to reopen as updated guidelines for nightclubs, live events, bars and restaurants are to be published (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gustavo Costa, a staff member at Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre, at the entrance to the venue as it prepares to reopen as updated guidelines for nightclubs, live events, bars and restaurants are to be published (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gustavo Costa, a staff member at Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre, at the entrance to the venue as it prepares to reopen as updated guidelines for nightclubs, live events, bars and restaurants are to be published (Brian Lawless/PA)

One nightclub owner in Dublin has said that everything is ready for the re-opening, as he prepares to welcome thousands of customers through the door over the coming weekend.

Industry representatives were being briefed by officials on the new guidelines on Thursday evening, hours before the easing of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Government this week are due to take effect.

The Government has promised to give clarity to businesses and customers, as nightclubs across the country prepare to re-open on Friday night.

On Thursday evening, Culture Minister Catherine Martin confirmed that nightclubs will be able to return with 100% capacity.

She also said that live entertainment venues will be permitted to have 1,500 people standing, under the updated guidelines.

She also said that customers will be able to queue, in a socially distanced manner, at the bar.

The measures, which includes extended opening hours beyond 11.30pm, are set to be reviewed in the coming weeks.

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Ms Martin said that the measures were important to support an industry that had been closed since March 2020, while also keeping in mind public health guidelines.

“This is a sector that has been closed since March of last year.

“We want it now that it’s open to remain open,” she told reporters on Thursday evening.

She called on the hospitality industry to “show leadership” and to follow the new rules.

She acknowledged that devising the guidelines had not been an easy process, but insisted that they were workable.

Ms Martin told reporters: “It is so complex to strike that balance. We’ve been working on it for the past 72 hours and we didn’t want to go into those meetings unless we had those key issues addressed.

“The Nphet letter arrived late Monday night, the three leaders met and we had to go straight into negotiations after Cabinet on Tuesday with the industry.”

Venues will have to follow certain rules, including the use of Covid passes and enforcing the wearing of face masks for anyone not drinking or dancing.

Ian Redmond, who runs the Tramline venue in Dublin city centre, told PA news agency on Thursday afternoon that there were very few nerves ahead of the re-opening on Friday.

Mr Redmond, who has years of experience in the entertainment sector, said that the initial plan had been to open at midnight and welcome customers in for the early hours of Friday morning.

However, his application for a special exemption order, a court order nightclubs require to open, had been rejected.

That unsuccessful bid to re-open on the stroke of midnight was only a minor disappointment, he said.

“There’s trepidation. I wouldn’t say nerves.

“If there are nerves, it’s a positive energy,” he said.

“It’s not like going on a first date.

“We know how to operate our venue.”

“We have all our staff ready to go.”

“I had a bucket of paint in my hand a few minutes ago.”

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Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

He expects three and a half thousand people to come through the door over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Redmond admitted that there were anomalies in the rules.

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Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline on D’Olier street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It seems a bit crazy, but everyone just want to do their best,” he said.

The Government announcement was a disappointment for other businesses, he said, but it worked “perfectly” for Tramline.

Earlier, Taoiseach Micheal Martin warned the public to be vigilant of businesses that do not ask for a Covid pass, urging people to insist that restaurants and pubs follow basic rules.

Mr Martin said avoiding the return of restrictions in the coming weeks and months would “demand vigilance” from members of the public.


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