It's "absolutely disgraceful" for the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to "frighten" musicians with his comments about potential restrictions beyond October 22nd, a member of Aslan says.
Billy McGuinness was speaking after Mr Varadkar said he "can't rule out" some measures remaining in place beyond the proposed full reopening next Friday.
Under the reopening plan, almost all legal restrictions are due to be lifted in just over a week's time - with only limited rules, such as mask-wearing on public transport, remaining in place.
It means entertainment venues will be allowed to operate at full capacity, while nightclubs would be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020.
However, there's growing concern about a recent spike in COVID-19 case numbers, as well as a rise in hospitalisations.
Mr Varadkar today told Newstalk a final decision on next week's reopening will depend on the advice given by NPHET following their meeting early next week.
The Tánaiste said he is still keen for the Government to push ahead with the full reopening, but that he "can't rule out the possibility" of some restrictions remaining.
He noted the current plan is still to lift the requirement for vaccine passes for indoor dining and entertainment venues, but they "will have to consider" what happens next week if there's still significant concern over case numbers and unvaccinated groups.
Aslan is among the bands and artists planning to begin touring the country once restrictions are fully eased.
Band member Billy McGuinness told Lunchtime Live he was "absolutely shocked" to hear about the Tánaiste's comments.
He said: “The amount of planning that goes into those gigs… we’ve been planning that for the past couple of weeks. You don’t just switch a flick and the gig happens.
“We’re due to play Killarney on the 23rd - the day after restrictions are lifted. If [they keep] restrictions at 60%... all bands cannot go in and play at that capacity. All those gigs will be cancelled.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful for him to frighten us, nine days before this is to be lifted. What is the man thinking of?"
He noted the Tánaiste is not even saying which - if any - restrictions would be left, noting: "We’re up in the air again, and we don’t know what to do.”
Billy said it's fine with the band if the need for a COVID pass remained in place for gigs, as some promoters will be insisting on it anyway.
However, he said musicians have been 19 months out of work, and they now "need to get back".