More countries tighten up live music measures as Omicron COVID variant takes hold

Italy, France, Belgium and Poland have announced new restrictions

Further restrictions on live music have been announced in European countries in an effort to control the new Omicron variant of COVID.

The new variant has been dubbed ‘of concern’ by the World Health Organisation, partly due to the lack of known information around its transmissibility and likelihood of it causing severe illness.

Italy has banned unvaccinated people from attending music venues, theatres, cinemas, sporting events, restaurants and bars. From Monday, they can only take part in public activities if they have a Covid Super Green Pass.

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This follows recent news that Germany has banned unvaccinated people from much of public life including attending gigs. Nightclubs must also close in areas where 350 cases have been recorded per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

In France, nightclubs will be closed for four weeks from this weekend. Thierry Fontaine of the UMIH Nuit industry association told France 24: “Once again, there’s no clampdown for any other sector. They cancel New Year’s Eve for us… but they’ll be dancing in all the restaurants.”

Nightclubs in Poland will also close from December 15, with other venues to be reduced from 50% capacity to 30%, Meanwhile in Belgium, indoor events over 4000 capacity will be banned from this Saturday. Concerts in Romania will be staged at at 50% capacity to a maximum of 1000 vaccinated people and in Denmark, Covid passes are now required for indoor gatherings of at least 100 people and outdoor gatherings of 1000 upwards.

Berghain nightclub
View at night of people waiting outside entrance to famous Berghain nightclub in Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany. CREDIT: Iain Masterton / Alamy Stock Photo

Last week, Ireland’s prime minister Micheál Martin announced a drop in capacity for indoor events such as concerts as well as an altogether shutting of nightclubs.

Meanwhile, the UK government has stated that there are no plans to introduce further restrictions, with live events currently proceeding. However, there has already been news of gig cancellations around the country as a result of concerns around the variant, with Stereophonics being the latest to cancel their imminent pair of stadium shows in Cardiff.

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