'With jazz weekend coming up, it’s the perfect time to open'

People on the streets of Cork were upbeat overall about the reopening of nightclubs and full capacity technically being allowed at events, just in time for the city's much-loved jazz festival
'With jazz weekend coming up, it’s the perfect time to open'

Labis Mavrofridis and Isaac O'Sullivan.

An announcement is expected this afternoon to give clarity on new measures nightclubs, entertainment venues, pubs, and restaurants will have to operate under from tomorrow. 

It is understood the government may now row back on many of the restrictions imposed on the nighttime economy and hospitality sectors when they resume trade at full capacity under the next phase of reopening.

Earlier this week, the government announced that although all sectors, including nightclubs, can reopen from Friday, a number of public health measures would be in place.

But following a meeting between Minister for Arts Catherine Martin on Wednesday with representatives for the impacted sectors, sources now say that many of the most contested restrictions may no longer apply.

Counter service being allowed again in pubs was one possible change being discussed.

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said on Wednesday that she is confident that anomalies currently surrounding the reopening of nightclubs and live music venues will be resolved within 24 hours.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurant Association, said he was much more optimistic about the outlook for his sector following Wednesday's meeting with Government.

“They’re trying to work as best they can to get us open viably, to get counter service back in pubs," Mr Cummins said.

“We’re moving in the right direction. There was also a robust discussion about equality between venues, that you’d treat everyone equally."

People on the streets of Cork were upbeat overall about the reopening of nightclubs and full capacity technically being allowed at events, just in time for the city's much-loved jazz festival.

Musician Isaac O’Sullivan, aka Letterbox Kid, and student at Cork School of Music, said that new public health measures which require live gigs to be fully seated but permit standing and dancing at nightclubs “doesn’t make sense”.

“Hopefully they will change that and treat gigs the same as clubs. That would lead to more gigs being booked and more musicians being able to make a living again,” he said.

But regardless of any new rules or restrictions, Mr O’Sullivan plans to celebrate this weekend as he is due to launch his debut single, 'Yeah I’ve Got You Callin', on Spotify.

Fellow musician and CSM student Labis Mavrofridis had gigs booked this weekend but has had to cancel them as his singer recently tested positive for Covid.

He has played just three gigs in the past 12 months when he would usually play one or two gigs every week.

Playing gigs would usually be an important source of income for both students.

But Labis remained upbeat about the situation.

“At least I am free to enjoy the Jazz festival,” he said.

Amy Warrington, Cian O'Mahony, and Julie Walsh.
Amy Warrington, Cian O'Mahony, and Julie Walsh.

Amy Warrington, Cian O’Mahony, and Julie Welsh, all first year students in University College Cork, said that the reopening of more social venues from Friday is welcome news.

“It’s great for us. It should definitely make it a lot easier to meet new people now,” Ms Warrington said.

“I’m in such a habit of being online that it’s weird to leave the house now but with Jazz Weekend coming up it’s the perfect time to open.

“I think it will be easier to go out now, to socialise and just get that social aspect of college back. I’m so excited about that."

Seán Keigher.
Seán Keigher.

But Séan Keigher from Mallow said he is reluctant to go out when covid numbers are rising.

“I’m in my 40s. I think my age cohort and older will be unlikely to go out but the 18-35 cohort definitely will.”

Tim O’Connor, from Tralee, said that there was little point in continuing with measures like requiring covid passes to enter indoor venues if those measures were not policed.

“There’s no point in having rules in a game if there’s no referee," he said.

Marcella and Niall Forbes agreed that continuing to require Covid passes to enter indoor venues was a “great idea.” “It might encourage more people to get vaccinated,” Mr Forbes said.

Marcella and Niall Forbes.
Marcella and Niall Forbes.

Mrs Forbes said: “We have to try to get back to normal safely.

“There’s a good balance between reopening and keeping some restrictions in place now.”

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