The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin has confirmed that seats for the panto during the reduced capacity is being allocated on a first come first-served basis.
People who were first to buy tickets for The Little Mermaid will be allocated seats based on the purchase date.
Management say allowing 50 per cent of the audience to see the show, rather than cancelling the production, is the lesser of two evils.
Additional shows are being scheduled in January, and anyone who has had their tickets cancelled will be given priority access to book new dates.
“In the Gaiety’s 150-year history, we have never before been forced to make such difficult decisions as this. For the last 20 months, families and children have done everything that has been asked of them," said Caroline Downey, Panto producer, and owner of the Gaiety Theatre.
"We in the Arts have done the same - opened safely, putting every protective measure in place to make the Theatre a safe and controlled environment.
"Despite having no case numbers linked to the Theatre since we re-opened, we have been forced by the Government to turn away people who had very kindly chosen to support us. We now have no choice but to let them down.
"Having explored every avenue to figure a way to avoid disappointing families and loyal customers, we have decided that it is the lesser of two evils to allow 50% of the audience to see the show and keep cast and crew in employment, rather than cancel the show completely.
"The tickets have been selected on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date the tickets were purchased.
"We are so very sorry to those families who bought their tickets in good faith and I’m sure they will feel disappointed and angry at this decision.
"I can assure you, we empathise with them and share their frustration at this entire situation. Monies will be refunded in full.
"We hope that despite this upsetting news, the public will continue to support the arts, wherever that may be.”