Skip to main content

Germany, Portugal and Northern Ireland announce nightclub closures in new Covid restrictions

Rules are being ramped-up across Europe as continental cases continue to surge

Germany, Portugal and Northern Ireland are among the countries announcing new COVID-19 restrictions in the face of rising cases and the threat posed by the highly-transmissible omicron variant. 

The three countries have each confirmed they will close all nightclubs, with Portugal ready to shutter venues, alongside bars, from 25th December until at least 9th January. The move was initially expected to take effect from 2nd January. 

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and 16 state leaders have agreed to close nightclubs before New Year's Eve. Previously, only regions recording high rates of Covid-19 infection had been forced to close nightclubs, while several prominent Berlin venues launched a legal battle in a bid to repeal a dancing ban. 

"We cannot and must not close our eyes to the next wave," Scholz told reporters. "Corona won't take a Christmas break."

Clubs in Northern Ireland will close from the 27th December as part of a string of new restrictions being put in place in the country. Clubs in the republic of Ireland were shut earlier this month. 

Elsewhere on the continent, as of Thursday 23rd December, events in Sweden with more than 20 people must enforce seating, irrespective of vaccination status. Where more than 500 are present, all attendees must show vaccination passes. 

The Netherlands is now in a new national lockdown, which began on 19th December and will continue until 14th January, or later. Events are no longer allowed, and pubs, bars, and restaurants have been closed. Switzerland is now imposing a so-called 2G+ rule, meaning anyone entering a club or music venue must be vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus in the past four months, or show proof of recovery or vaccination with a negative test result. 

Although the UK as a whole is taking measures that stop well short of a full-blown lockdown, restrictions differ between countries. Wales will close all nightclubs from 27th December, in Scotland events are capped at 500 people outdoors, 200 seated inside, and 100 standing indoors. At the time of writing, venues in England remain free open but must use a Covid passport system

Nevertheless, following successive warnings from UK health advisors, scores of events have been cancelled, including the last ever party from legendary Manchester crew Swing Ting, a string of dates at Corsica Studios' new sister venue, The Carpet Shop, and Printworks shows with Gorgon City and LWE Presents From Our Minds.

Advance ticket sales and spend per head inside venues are both also significantly down, while no-shows at events have skyrocketed in recent weeks. As a result, the events industry has responded to the government's latest announcement of £1billion in support with disdain and serious criticism, stating the figure is "woefully inadequate" for the scale of the problem.