Lifting Restrictions in Ireland for Arts, Culture and Heritage: Answering Questions and Sharing Best Practices

The Government’s recent announcement on the two-step reopening plan for the arts and culture sector will require some planning and thought on how best to tackle each stage of reopening. We’re sharing best practices from organisations in the Ticketsolve community to help you in the process.

The much welcomed news this week was the government's announcement of the 2-step reopening plan for arts, culture and live entertainment (6th and 20th of September), with a full reopening on the 22nd October. Theatre Forum has provided a through overview of what restrictions will be in place and which will be lifted from each key date. 

You may also want to register for the free Reopening Forum hosted by Theatre Forum on the 7th of September where they will be answering further questions around staged reopening. 

There is a lot to plan and think about in terms of reopening. And while each organisation's situation will differ, there are some key areas that the entire sector in Ireland will need to address. We have been getting some specific questions regarding reopening, and we wanted to share some best practices with the wider arts and culture community in Ireland. 

Dealing with Vaccination Certs

There are a lot of questions arising around the issue of vaccination certs/vaccination status of patrons.

Should arts and cultural organisations capture vaccination status at the point of sale or require proof of vaccination status at some point in the customer journey?

While it is possible to ask patrons at the point of purchase about their vaccination status we believe this step should be avoided due to GDPR.

Based on the current governmental guidelines, as of the 6th of September for venues to be at 60% capacity:

 “ . . .patrons will need to be immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 6 months) or accompanied minors (under 18), in line with sectoral guidance.”

In accordance with this, purchasers will need to be informed that in order to gain entry into the venue, all seat holders will need to present a valid vaccination certificate or a cert showing they have recovered from Covid in the last 6 months. Ideally these certs should be scannable.

Patrons need to be informed of this requirement and details should be added throughout the purchase journey as well as be a condition of sale (e.g., on arrival each ticket holder will be asked to present their Covid vaccination cert or cert showing they have recovered from Covid in the previous 6 months. If you are unable to provide a certificate you will not be able to gain entry into the venue). 

It is important to provide clear communications and instructions throughout the purchase process as well as other relevant communications channels such your website and show pages, as well as any emails that are sent to the customers. For example, this information should be presented on:

  1. The Website - include wording on your website, see below example.
  2. Show Page (Ticket Price Description) - include specific wording to the Show Description so it displays on the booking page.
  3. Terms & Conditions - edit your Ts & Cs to include the relevant information. 
  4. Ticket purchase points - it’s possible to include additional information that displays during the booking process. If you are a Ticketsolve customer you can use the Event Comments display in a pronounced box on the cart page for example. 
  5. Confirmation emails - consider adding wording to your confirmation email.
  6. Pre-show emails - consider adding wording to your upcoming reminder emails.
Email Communications

Below is an example of an email Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) has shared with their customers: 

Dear (customer name),

The government announcement yesterday on the relaxing of restrictions for attendance at indoor events has implications for the performances of Medicine at the Black Box Theatre.

The new Covid guidelines for indoor events means the theatre will run at 60% capacity with a requirement that all patrons over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated. Patrons must wear masks throughout the performance and the pod system will no longer be in operation for the event.

Patrons must present their Covid certificate (on their phone if possible) upon entry to the venue and will be asked to wear a mask during the performance.

As always your safety is of utmost importance to us and we are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to live theatre. If for some reason you do not wish to attend or cannot provide a vaccine certificate, which is now a requirement, a refund will be provided by contacting boxoffice@giaf.ie

Kind regards

GIAF Team

Communicate Changes on Show Pages

Below is an example of of what some organisations have on their show page for new bookers, as well as an example of GIAF's message on their show page regarding vaccination passports.

Please note presentation of a valid vaccine certificate is required to enter this event as per current government Covid-19 guidelines. Pod seating is no longer a requirement but all patrons must still wear a face covering. 

Performances from the 2nd to the 5th of September are sold to 50% of venue capacity under the government pilot scheme. Performances from the 6th to the 18th are sold to a capacity of 60%.

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We certainly hope that this 2-step reopening - and full reopening in October remains on track. But as always, this is still a changeable situation so things may change as the autumn progresses. 

As ever, if you need any additional information, have any questions or need more support, please do get in touch.