New rules for nightclubs will see those wanting to attend having to purchase their tickets at least an hour in advance of turning up at the door.

Industry representatives have asked for a grace period of two weeks before enforcing the new rules, which will allow them to get their electronic ticketing system and other logistical requirements in place.

The requirement for a ticket will be determined by whether dancing is taking place, rather than live music as previously envisaged.

The latest in a series of meetings took place today between Government officials and industry representatives who have been seeking clarity on how the new system will work.

They said the ticketing requirement was dropped like a bombshell on Friday evening, just as they were due to reopen their doors.

Today, they were told that tickets will have to be purchased electronically at least one hour in advance and must contain details to allow for robust contact tracing.

Customers will not be allowed to congregate at doors and ticket holders only should be allowed in a queue.

The new rules are due to be signed in to law on Thursday.

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In a statement, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said the Government "wishes to move forward with this phase of reopening" but said that Covid-19 remains "a very real threat to society".

It said the aim of the ticketing measures is "to balance this new reopening phase with public health considerations".

The department said officials have listened to the concerns raised and will continue to engage with the industry.

It said regulations and revised guidance for the sectors affected by the measures will be published this week.

'Teething problems' expected - Varadkar

The Tánaiste has said that there will be "teething problems" and "implementation problems" associated with the ticketing system.

Leo Varadkar said it was important to keep the sector open, following a long period of closure.

The Government would continue to engage with the sector, he added, and this system would be kept under review.

Speaking in Co Meath, the minister said the ticket system and other guidelines are designed to ensure that contact tracing can be facilitated, people are fully vaccinated and capacity limits are maintained.

Elsewhere, Ian Redmond, owner of Tramline nightclub in Dublin, said they were "quite surprised" by the proposal.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Redmond said they "can't understand or fathom" how the one-hour window stops the virus or makes things safer.

"If somebody's out at a bar or restaurant and they want to come to a nightclub, they can't now if this comes in," he said.

"It just breaks the spontaneity of being out ... we want that looked at, absolutely."

Mr Redmond said they can handle the ticketing system and it has worked well for them over the last few nights.

He said they have been building a database of information that could be used for contact tracing, but they "cannot understand" the one-hour proposal.

Mr Redmond said there would not be a requirement to purchase tickets one hour in advance of going to the cinema or any other similar event.

"I think this weekend we’re very fortunate that there is demand for tickets for our venue, but there are other venues that may suffer," Mr Redmond said.

Speaking on the same programme, event manager and club promoter Buzz O'Neill-Maxwell said last weekend was their reopening weekend, so everything was ticketed.

That works on big nights, he said, but may not work on all nights.

"What we’re looking at here is something that our entire industry actually begged officials in the department not to do," Mr O'Neill-Maxwell said.

"Contact tracing would be there, but why put a limit of an hour beforehand?"

He said there was "incredible compliance" for the industry’s opening weekend and that patrons "got on board" with the new rules and regulations, but the one-hour proposal is "another roadblock" to trading.

"It is really, really not workable for us in the late-night sector," he said. "We’re completely baffled by this."