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Omicron update: More countries tighten measures

New restrictions in Italy, France, Belgium and Poland, as early indications point to new variant being "more transmissible" than Delta

By James Hanley on 07 Dec 2021

Ticketmaster Italy, Home Entertainment

Italy has banned unvaccinated people from attending concerts as countries across Europe step up their efforts to combat the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.

From this week, access to music venues – as well as theatres, cinemas, sporting events, restaurants and bars – in the country will be restricted to those with a so-called Covid Super Green Pass.

The UK government reported that, despite early indications suggesting Omicron was “more transmissible” than the Delta variant, it was not looking at introducing its winter contingency plan. Live events are currently still proceeding at full capacity in the territory.

However, in France, nightclubs will be closed for four weeks from this weekend, prompting an angry response from businesses.

Once again, there’s no clampdown for any other sector

“Once again, there’s no clampdown for any other sector,” Thierry Fontaine of the UMIH Nuit industry association tells France 24. “They cancel New Year’s Eve for us… but they’ll be dancing in all the restaurants.”

From December 15, nightclubs will also close in Poland, where the maximum number of people allowed in other venues will be reduced from 50% capacity to 30%. A venue can only admit fully vaccinated people if it wishes to increase numbers, with staff required to check vaccination certificates.

Elsewhere, in Belgium, indoor events over 4,000-capacity will be banned from this Saturday, whereas concerts and events in Romania will be staged at 50% capacity to a maximum of 1,000 people (all of whom must be vaccinated) with a 10pm curfew.

The moves follow Germany extending its so-called 2G rule to cover the whole country – meaning only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid can attend live music venues and other cultural events.

Outdoor events are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 15,000 attendees, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50% cap and crowds of 5,000. Masks are mandatory at all events.

The Netherlands has put plans to implement a 2G system on hold until the new year. Elsewhere, in Denmark, Covid passes are now required for indoor gatherings of at least 100 people (previously 200) and outdoor gatherings of 1,000 upwards (previously 2,000).

In addition, Austria entered a new national lockdown last month, and evidence of a negative Covid test – from either a lateral flow test or PCR – has been added to Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme. Previously, attendees were required to show proof of full vaccination.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports that about €25 million is to be provided to the Irish live performance sector following the government’s decision to limit indoor events to 50% capacity.


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