The past few weeks the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been battering the European continent and forced governments to introduce new restrictions which of course affects the live music industry before anything else, this includes the closure around Europe of nightclubs and other nighttime venues.
Portugal is one of the latest countries to introduce restrictions, passing over 10,000 cases each day, the country follows others when it closes clubs and bars. The closures come in from Christmas Day (25th December) and will stay in place until the 7th January at the earliest. The restrictions also include limited capacity inside shops and also presenting negative covid tests to enter indoor spaces such as hotels. Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa commented on the news stating:
“This still isn’t the normal Christmas we are used to, If we do not adopt these measures now, the consequences on everyone’s lives will be much worse after Christmas and the New Year.”
The United Kingdom has been taking various different approaches to the unprecedented rise in case, with over 100,000 daily, Wales and Scotland have already announced curbs and nightclubs close before the New Year. Northern Ireland becomes the latest to force clubs to shut their doors from 6am on the 26th of December with capped events much like the Welsh and Scottish counterparts and only 6 people per table in pubs and restaurants. Oppositely England’s government however has stressed that no new shock announcements regarding new restrictions will be made before Christmas.
We’re absolutely alert to the challenges that could come on our health service, and that’s why a number of the decisions have been taken today. They’re proportionate based on where we are today but of course we continue to keep those measures under review, we have another meeting that is scheduled to take place on December 30 where we will look at these issues again in light of the prevailing circumstances we face. – Northern Ireland’s First Minister Paul Givan during a press conference discussing the new restrictions.
Elsewhere around the continent, in Germany closures that occurred in some of its states such as Bavaria will become nationwide after a vote by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and 16 state leaders was for the closure of nightclubs in the country. This will take place before New Years and comes with a limit of private gatherings to 10 people. The Netherlands and Belgium have seen their clubs closed for quite some time now and also skyrocketing cases across Scandinavia have seen countries in that region introduce new restrictions, particularly Denmark which see Omicron as the new dominant strain of Covid-19 in the country.
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