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Outdoor gatherings of 5,000 people might be allowed by September, Varadkar says

By Brian Dillon

June 16, 2020 at 4:22pm

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 may be permitted by September.

He said: "If things continue to go in the right direction, and if the virus stays suppressed, I think we could see some small outdoor mass gatherings in September.

“I would envisage cinemas opening in August but socially distanced, and I am told that cinemas can operate at a profit socially distanced. That’s really hard for live performances for theatres, so that’s trickier."

"We could see some smaller outdoor or mass gatherings in September, maybe outdoor cultural events of a few thousand people - 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000, but it's unlikely to be more than that," he added.

Arts Minister Josepha Madigan added: "The demographic likely to attend the theatre and the opera are generally older so these are things we have to take into account but can’t rule anything out later on in the year."

The Taoiseach and the Arts Minister announced a €25 million package for the art organisations and artists after the Covid-19 lockdown. Varadkar explained:

"Over the last few months, we have had many days of sorrow and suffering. In times like this, we see the true value of culture to society - the books, the films, the songs, the plays - all the different forms of culture that entertain as well as enlighten.

"The pandemic hasn’t been easy for our artists and cultural institutions, and I know their livelihoods have been hit hard. So many events have been cancelled, so many places have been forced to close.

"The Government wants to recognise how important culture is to our lives and it wants to match its words with actions."

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