The planned return of full-capacity events in the Republic of Ireland on 22 October will be delivered with restrictions including a ban on standing at indoor events.

In a blow to promoters, the Irish government today, 19 October, announced new measures that must be taken at events in the country from Friday onwards. While there will be no restrictions on outdoor events or on standing in nightclubs, it said at indoor live music, drama, live entertainment and sporting events all audience members must be seated.

It also stated that an EU Digital Covid Certificate showing proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or recovery must be shown to gain entry to indoor events.

The government’s previously announced plan was to end the requirement for Covid certificates for indoors hospitality, reopen nightclubs for the first time since March, and to allow outdoor events without restrictions.

It said specific sectoral guidance will be developed for nightclubs setting out appropriate protective measures: “This will involve Covid-19 passes, contact tracing data collection and wearing of face masks except when eating, drinking and dancing.”

In an opinion piece for, MCD promoter Shane Dunne aired his frustrations at the short notice of the changes.

He said, “The industry was told only a couple of weeks ago that reopening was on track. A senior [National Public Health Emergency Team] member did a press run telling us that the virus was almost suppressed – we believed them, staff were hired back, taken off a Pandemic Unemployment Payment that they can’t now get back on. Sites were built for the Spiegeltent and the Cork Jazz, millions invested and here we are, like kites in a hurricane, trying to decipher a confusing press conference, vague guidelines and why it’s ok to stand in a club but not at a gig.”

It has meant some last minute changes for indoor events. Dublin’s 13,000-capacity 3 Arena was due to host Biggest Disco 90s on 23 October. Organisers announced they are pressing ahead with the show but it will be switched to an all-seated event.