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Pubs will be allowed host live music sessions when they reopen

Minister Catherine Martin said the government would not be discouraging live music.

PUBS WILL BE allowed to host live music sessions when they reopen on 21 September.

Arts Minister Catherine Martin said today that she wants musicians singing and performing in pubs when doors reopen. She said there was nothing agreed at Cabinet to stop live music in pubs.

When the reopening guidelines for pubs that serve food were released, live music and DJs were ruled out. However, the minister has now said that the government would not be discouraging live music – either by bands or singers – in pubs, as long as it can be done safely, and while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“These are people’s jobs,” said Martin, adding that we have to find a way to live alongside the virus.

The minister said she would be launching the arts task force soon, and announcing its chairperson today.

Regarding audience numbers, Martin said there were anomalies in the current regulations where greater numbers could attend theatres than the Three Arena in Dublin. 

“It doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Martin said she wants to see the restrictions lifted on outdoor gatherings, and that it is about engagement with the industry as well as looking at what other countries are doing. 

The minister was previously asked about a recent UK festival where concert goers were penned off into groups. “Innovative” ideas are needed in order to get the entertainment industry back on its feet, she said.

“I am more about the language of opening up than closing down,” she said.

In terms of international travel, another area in her brief, the minister said we need to find ways to do things safely. 

Yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the government is aiming for people to be able to visit their families abroad this Christmas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against non-essential travel overseas. However, travel to a very limited set of locations – named on the Green list – is exempted from this advice.

Currently individuals arriving into Ireland from Green List countries do not have to restrict their movements upon entry into the country.

Martin said she is very aware of the risk posed to the country and the travel sector if connectivity is lost. She noted that inbound tourism brings in €5 billion, and supports 26,000 jobs, 70% of which are outside Dublin.

A new plan for travel will be contained in the new reopening roadmap for Ireland, which could include rapid testing at airports and/or a new colour coded travel map, drafted by the European Commission and the ECDC.

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Reducing the time for quarantine from non-Green List countries from 14 days to 10 days is up for discussion today at the Covid Cabinet sub-committee.

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