Are the Irish government trying to destroy the nightclub sector entirely? That’s the effect the midnight curfew is likely to have after Covid rules previously closed them for 586 days…

When I’m writing headlines for this blog, I always try to follow a few rules. I try to make sure that the banner actually reflects the content of the post underneath it. There are few things I find more irritating than clickbait screamers which inevitably don’t deliver what they promise.

Yet I also try to make sure the headline is interesting and catches the eye. So as hyperbolic as the leader above might initially seem, I honestly don’t think it is. A few weeks ago, the Republic of Ireland put in place a midnight curfew on nightclubs. Now, this puts the aforementioned nightclubs into something of a dilemma.

If they opened at their normal time – this varies dramatically, but the average opening seems to be between 9pm and 10pm – this means they would have a maximum of three hours trading time. That’s just 180 minutes to get everyone through security, check out their Covid passes, get them inside the venue, sell them drinks and get them dancing – before you have to chuck them onto the street at midnight into the inevitable scramble for a taxi home.

And if they open earlier in the day, this causes two other problems. One, they cannot reasonably be defined as a nightclub if they have to frequently open during the day. And two, they have to tread on the feet of other businesses which operate during those hours. The night time economy works because everything tends to compliment everything else – something which the curfew completely fails to understand.

With Irish nightclubs having been closed from March 2020 until October this year – Republic of Ireland clubs reopened on October 22nd, with their Northern Irish cousins following suit on October 31st – they now somehow have to get themselves back on a stable financial footing when they’ve been forced onto reduced trading hours.

For those people who believe the Irish nightclub scene is too heavily focused on Dublin, this news couldn’t come at a worse time. A nightclub manager in Co Donegal – he’s asked me not to use his name – emailed this blog the other day to say he thinks the rules are “just f***ing stupid. For me, it just means people will go across the border and spend their money there instead. They’ll just go up to Derry or Belfast for the weekend and spend their money in the north instead. It makes no sense at all.”

And speaking of Northern Ireland – which the gentleman referred to – compulsory Covid passes for nightclubs and venues serving alcohol come into force tomorrow. They won’t be legally enforced until December 13th, which is similar to a grace period policy utilised in Scotland when they introduced a similar scheme. I’ll be writing more about this one tomorrow.

Keeping up with all this is going to make for one very long winter…