One of Dublin’s most popular venues is set to reopen on August 10th as a bar and for gigs.
The date is in line with the planned move to the next phase of the Government’s reopening plan as the country continues to grapple with coronavirus.
In a statement released on Twitter and Facebook, Whelan’s announced their plan to reopen next month.
“Whelan’s is delighted to be returning, to be coming out of musical hibernation, after our COVID winter. But we haven’t been sleeping, we’ve been planning on how to make the venue safe for everyone who has the live music bug.
“We’ve also been working to make sure that we can run shows with safety at the forefront. For the staff, the performers and of course our music nut customers who need their sonic fix.
“So in the short term, at least, we need to limit our capacity and are only running shows in our main venue. This means that capacity of 450 has become 88 with all shows being seated. Sales will be by the table, so 2,4 or 6 people at a table.
Some of the safety measures include assigned seating at tables only, temperature checks at the entry and disinfectant hand rub at entry and throughout the venue.
They also outlined measure for performers: No sharing of vocal mics, Vocal mics disinfected after use and not used for at least 3 days later, Mic stands and leads also disinfected after use and Socially distanced dressing room.
No more than three or four people on stage at any one time.
Safe distance between band and front of the audience.
Whelan’s had been closed since March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but released a statement on Thursday confirming their comeback.
“There’s been a good reaction . . . bands are dying to play,” said booking manager Dave Allen.
As part of the changes to make the building COVID-compliant capacity in the venue is being reduced from 450 to 88 and all shows will be fully seated. Tickets will be sold in advance online by the table for two, four or six people who can order via table service.
Temperature checks will be done at entrances, lead contact information for a booking will be taken and disinfectant hand gel will be placed throughout the building.
“Financially, it’s nothing compared to what we used to do . . . from March to June ticket sales were nonexistent,” Allen said.
“A lot of the international dates have been rearranged for next year and we’ve focused on making the venue COVID-safe. In the last few years live music and touring has become vital. A lot of bands rely on live gigs for 80 to 90 per cent of their income.”
Allen says this is mostly due to the very small royalties streaming services pay artists for their music.
In order to discourage excess movement by audience members, genres of music and the number of performers will be limited. A safe distance will be kept between the audience and the performers on stage. Most gigs will be acoustic and trad shows.
“We reckon a gig of this nature is safer than just going to the pub. People are more captivated during an acoustic show – they’re less likely to move around,” Allen told the Irish Times.