Worth it for a pint? ‘Covid-free pub’ with mandatory on-site testing for patrons opens in Ireland
Is this how all future nights out are going to look? An Irish pub owner has introduced mandatory coronavirus testing for all customers in order to create a truly safe environment at his establishment.
Eileen’s Bar in the village of Aghamore in County Mayo opened its doors on Thursday, becoming the first “Covid-free pub” in the country, according to its owner, Donal Byrne.
To achieve such status, Byrne brought a batch of German-made coronavirus test kits, which he said provide results in 15 minutes and are 99.9-percent accurate. He said the World Health Organization (WHO) had used the same kits, having ordered 120 million of them.
Not only are patrons of the pub obliged to take the tests, they also cost ten euro per person. The establishment said on Facebook that their actual price was “far greater” but it was eager to cover the costs “to make sure our staff and customers are safe and protected.”
Medical professionals, recruited by the pub, will be taking swabs from customers between 5pm and 7pm every evening. Luckily, drinks are made available in the testing area to make waiting for the results less tedious.
Under current restrictions in Ireland, pubs that do not serve food are only allowed to operate on a delivery and takeout basis, but Byrne was not deterred.
"Serving food does not mean you are safe, but Covid testing does," Byrne said.
The bar only services its regulars and residents of Aghamore, who booked a seat in advance.
“WHO said at the start of this that the only way out is with rapid testing and testing is what we’re going to do,” Byrne told Midwest Radio.
Only those with negative tests are allowed to enter the pub, but, while inside, they must still follow all the Covid-19 recommendations, including wearing masks, sanitizing hands and social distancing, which will surely suck some of the fun from the experience. Eileen’s doesn’t allow more than 20 people in at the same time. Leaving the establishment to return again later in the evening is also not an option.Also on rt.com New York bar owner who declared his tavern an AUTONOMOUS ZONE, defying Covid-19 orders, is arrested for serving customers
The question naturally becomes, is a pint really worth the hassle?
But locals were evidently excited about the idea of a “Covid-free pub,” calling it a “simple sensible solution” and an “inspiring initiative” in the comments on social media. Some promised to visit and have a drink or two.
“The publicans in the west of Ireland are on their knees” due to coronavirus restrictions, Byrne said, expressing hope that mandatory testing would allow Eileen’s to work safely and without interruption during the pandemic.
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