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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Hotel denies breach of Covid-19 guidelines as 'older' crowd reported at concert

A Kerry hotel has failed to issue specific comment on reports of hundreds of people attending an indoor concert in its ballroom over the weekend.

Up to 400 people were said to have attended the event at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry, according to a guest who spoke to the Irish Mirror.

The guest said the Saturday night event saw showband Gina and the Champions play in the hotel’s ballroom with reports of a “noisy and singing crowd”.

“I was fearful for my elderly mother and for those who were at the concert, it was packed and the audience was mostly elderly people who should be reducing their contacts,” the guest said, adding that they left the event quickly.

The Gleneagle did not respond to a request for clarification of the number of people in attendance at the event on Saturday.

In a statement, the hotel maintained it was adhering to Covid-19 guidelines for indoor organised gatherings in a “controlled environment”, as outlined in the Fáilte Ireland Guidelines for Hotels.

Numbers

The hotel said that according to these guidelines, “maximum numbers within the premises are linked to the capacity of the premises taking appropriate physical distancing into account.” The hotel did not clarify the particular capacity attributed to its ballroom venue.

In its statement, the Gleneagle said: “We have opened our largest venue, the INEC, as a residents’ restaurant and lounge to ensure our guests have ample space to socially distance.

“Normally, the INEC can accommodate 4,142 people at a standing and seated event and 2,142 at a fully seated event and is only opened for large concerts and conferences. All concerts and events previously scheduled to take place in the INEC have been cancelled or postponed.

“When in operation our spacious INEC Residents’ Restaurant and Lounge opens at 6pm to accommodate our guests for evening dining. Light entertainment is provided in this setting from 9pm until 11pm for our guests to enjoy while socialising within their groups of six or less.

“Interaction between groups is strictly prohibited. We carefully choose low key, low volume acts. This is a controlled environment with strict social distancing measures in place.”

The hotel said it had taken other measures to ensure the safety of guests and staff as follows:

  • Entertainment is provided for residents only.
  • Separate entrance and exits are in place.
  • Tables of two, four and six are situated in defined spaces two meters apart and are sanitised before and after use.
  • Table service is mandatory and food is served throughout the evening.
  • Dancing is not permitted, and all guests must remain within their family groups at their allocated table while tables and chairs cannot be moved by guests.
  • Staff are present at all times to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
  • Details for contact tracing are taken upon entry to the hotel and again upon entering the INEC.
  • The restaurant and bar are closed at 11pm sharp and guests must vacate the space by 11.30pm.

Under the Government’s Level Two guidelines for indoor organised gatherings in a “controlled environment”, up to 100 patrons are permitted in larger venues with strict two-metre seated social distancing and one-way controls for entry and exit.

The Government plan for Living with Covid-19 also states that for “very large purpose built event facilities (e.g. stadia, auditoriums, conferencing/event centres), specific guidance will be developed with the relevant sectors to take account of size.”

Under Level Two restrictions for other settings, members of different households can meet socially with a maximum of six people indoors, with an exemption for up to 50 guests at a wedding ceremony and reception.