'You could be breaking rules you don't know about': Cork nightclub owners' concerns about ticketing system

Tickets for nightclubs and late-night events will be required to be booked at least an hour in advance under new Covid-19 regulations, it is understood.
'You could be breaking rules you don't know about': Cork nightclub owners' concerns about ticketing system

Tickets for nightclubs and late-night events will be required to be booked at least an hour in advance under new Covid-19 regulations. 

LACKING in logic and impractical is how the latest Covid guidelines have been described by publicans and nightclub management.

Tickets for nightclubs and late-night events will be required to be booked at least an hour in advance under new Covid-19 regulations, it is understood.

It is reported that ticketing will be electronic and must be booked at least an hour in advance.

This will mean that late-night venues will need to have the ticketing system in place and ready for customers on Thursday night.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has accepted there will be “implementation problems” with new pandemic guidelines for nightclubs, but said they will help keep the sector open.

Mr Varadkar said the guidelines will be kept under review, but would not be drawn on whether they will come into effect on Thursday.

Manager of The Reardens Group John Styles, which includes The Secret Garden and The Hidden Attic, said the bottom line is trying to stay open, but said he couldn’t see the total logic behind the new guidelines.

“There are loads of grey areas and our hands are tied. It is a concern that you might be breaking a rule that you don’t even know you are breaking.” 

Manager of The Reardens Group John Styles, which includes The Secret Garden and The Hidden Attic, said the bottom line is trying to stay open, but said he couldn’t see the total logic behind the new guidelines. Picture Dan Linehan
Manager of The Reardens Group John Styles, which includes The Secret Garden and The Hidden Attic, said the bottom line is trying to stay open, but said he couldn’t see the total logic behind the new guidelines. Picture Dan Linehan

Cork city chairperson of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) Michael O’Donovan said the new guidelines were “farcical” and “wholly impractical.” 

Speaking to The Echo, Mr O’Donovan outlined how if a person out for a meal, decided they wanted to go stay out later in the same venue, they would have to buy a ticket, leave for an hour and come back later, which he said made no sense.

The VFI representative also highlighted the cost involved in obtaining and operating a electronic ticketing system as well as the tight timeframe.

“Many venues don’t have a ticketing system in place and to have one by next Friday is not doable, we need time.” 

Mr O’Donovan also said practicality was definitely not on the agenda when the guidelines were introduced.

“It’s bizarre and based on one weekend, which was one of the busiest weekends of the year and the first weekend of being open again.” 

The VFI Cork City Chairperson said that he would be asking for the guidelines to be held for a few weeks to assess how things work after the pent up demand has dissipated.

“They are introducing guidelines based on one of the busiest weekends of the year. I'm not sure that kind of pent up demand will be there every weekend. I think it's a mistake to introduce these guidelines and I think the Government should wait one or two weekends.” 

Initial Government guidelines for nightclubs were published on Friday evening, just before clubs reopened for the first time in nearly 600 days.

The guidelines said that, alongside a Covid-19 certificate and photographic ID, anyone attending a nightclub will need to have bought a ticket in advance.

However, some details are yet to be ironed out between the Government and the industry.

Sunil Sharpe, from the Give Us The Night campaign, said: “For club promoters and venues, a lot of them have moved towards ticketed events, especially over the last five years. But in any case, they’ve always had the advantage of the walk-up crowd, which is really vital, especially as we move into the winter.” 

He said that many entertainment operators and the public may go across the border to Northern Ireland instead.

“It is anti-competitive. It’s going to be really difficult for hospitality and entertainment and night-time venues to manage. We could lose a significant amount of footfall.

“There are lots of logistical issues,” he added.

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