Give Us The Night is an ‘independent volunteer group of professionals operating within the night-time industry’.
‘Irish venues, nightclubs and music events are being disregarded, and more closures are certain if this continues. We wrote to Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Catherine Martin, laying out a range of necessary measures to help our industry reopen safely and swiftly.’
1. A guarantee of non-socially distanced trial events in September irrespective of COVID-19 case numbers.
2. A lifting of the ban on dancing at all live events (indoors and outdoors), to take effect as soon as possible.
3. A lifting of the ban on live and loud music.
4. The significant expansion of public testing services, to offer a range of free PCR and antigen tests for the public, ensuring increased safety against any possible outbreaks of COVID-19 at events.
5. A starting date for all live events (with the removal of social distancing) including music venues and nightclubs, no later than the beginning of October.
6. Licensing law reform (announced in February) to be advanced as a matter of urgency to meet the needs of heavily challenged night-time venues after they reopen.
7. In the intervening time, reinstatement of ‘late’ opening should happen as soon as possible to create much-needed staggered closing between restaurants, bars and venues, putting less pressure on public transport and increasing public safety. We reject the idea of nightclubs having to become fully-fledged pubs with table service in order to do business. This is not an option for most nightclubs, whose market is post-midnight.
8. Special exemption order fees to be waived entirely for venues currently in possession of a dance licence. This will help these venues as they recover from the last 17 months of shutdown, while entering a new period in time when business will be very unpredictable.
9. Assurance that events and venues will not have to close immediately if COVID-19 case numbers rise in the future. Closures should be an absolute last resort. A tiered scaling back on numbers and closing times, and reintroduction of social distancing, should be explored before any blanket closures.
10. Acknowledgement from the Government that a continued shutdown of events and entertainment venues will result in an upsurge of unregulated events, increasing the chance of the virus spreading this winter. Last winter became house party season, a trend that is becoming an ongoing threat to the entertainment and hospitality industries that may lead to an increased cultural shift over the next year, and further issues in residential areas.
11. Government funded training for event and venue staff to deal with the challenges of enforcing COVID-19 regulations.
12. Clear direction to be given to indoor music venues on ventilation. A grant scheme to aid the cost and installation of required systems should be established.
13. Local authorities to assist venues by permitting the use of adjoining or nearby outdoor space for events. Consideration should also be given to erect weather-friendly marquees and tents in selected areas, diversifying the range of locations that can be used in the evening and at night, and empowering local event organisers to plan ahead with more certainty.
Will no one think about the unvaxxed ‘reveller’?