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Ban on alcohol may mean concerts can resume during pandemic, Govt says

Updated 1pm

A ban on alcohol at music events and gigs is being considered by Government as a way of allowing them to resume during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is currently considering new proposals that would increase the numbers of people permitted at live music events, including a potential ban on alcohol being served on the premises hosting the event, according to the Irish Times.

Current Covid-19 restrictions permit a maximum of 50 people indoors in “controlled environments” such as museums, cinemas, theatres and art galleries, while all other indoor events have a six-person limit.

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly are set to meet arts campaigners later today to discuss which facilities and events could be allowed to reopen under public health guidelines.

Alcohol sales

However, Angela Dorgan from the National Campaign for the Arts says alcohol sales are often used to pay the musicians.

“It would be a struggle, I don’t want to say non-viable because Covid is a new reality and we have to look at all the options, so I think it’s welcome that we’re talking about saving rather than closing," she said.

“Music venues rely heavily on their bar take to subsidise paying the artists, so I think we would have to look at where the alternative income could come so that the venues could survive.”

Minister Martin is keen to increase both audience and artist numbers permitted at indoor and outdoor events beyond the current restrictions and will examine if a ban on alcohol could facilitate them being held, political sources have told the Irish Times.

“I hope it will assist everyone in developing a better understanding of how we can move forward and strike an appropriate balance between protecting our public health in an effort to ensuring events of greater numbers than current restrictions inside and outside can take place where possible,” Ms Martin said according to the paper.

It comes as the Government is set to publish new legislation today detailing which new powers gardaí will be given to crack down on restaurants and pubs failing to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.