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07th Dec 2021

Close contact info not collected from nightclubs and music venues as HSE focuses on “priority areas”

Fiona Frawley

The HSE’s contact tracing team has not been collecting information on potential close contacts of positive Covid cases in music venues or nightclubs.

In response to a parliamentary question from Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon, the HSE said:

Following the easing of restrictions since 22nd October 2021, the Contact Management Programme (CMP) has experienced an extremely high sustained demand for Covid-19 services…. As a result, we are not currently collating information on nightclubs and music venues. 

The HSE stated that the CMP is currently focussing on “priority areas” including “Special Education, Nursing Homes, Residential Care Facilities and members of the Travelling/Roma Communities“. When an outbreak is identified in a nightclub or music venue, “it is managed by the relevant regional Public Health who undertake a Public Health Risk Assessment”. 

Gannon has shared the response on Twitter, writing:

It’s been revealed that the extensive burden placed on the late night sector with regards to online ticketing & collection of customers details, has resulted in absolutely no follow-up from contact tracers.

A HSE source told the Independent that nightclubs and live venues are not deemed high risk as they are mostly attended by younger people. “We only have a finite amount of resources,” the source said.

According to The Independent, the hospitality sector and the live events industry met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin yesterday. Following the meeting, the Taoiseach said he does not want to see concerts and events being cancelled as a result of new restrictions announced last week.

In line with recent restrictions, audiences at live events and concerts are now being restricted to a maximum capacity of 50 percent, with many musicians and artist forced to cancel shows as a result.

Lovin Media Group have approached the HSE for comment.

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