Ireland’s ‘first Covid-free pub’ gets back to pouring pints – dpa international

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Pints of Guinness served on June 29 2020 as Ireland allows some pubs to reopen after almost 4 months closure due to coronavirus (Simon Roughneen)

Pints of Guinness served on June 29 2020, when Ireland allowed some pubs to reopen after almost 4 months (Simon Roughneen)

 

DUBLIN — A bar in the west of Ireland is reopening on Thursday evening as the country’s “first Covid free pub,” with drinkers being tested for the novel coronavirus before entry.

According to Eileen’s Bar, a pub in the village of Aughamore, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from capital Dublin, customers must first wait at “a designated area” where they are “tested for Covid by a trained tester.”

Announcing the reopening in a Tuesday Facebook post, pub owner Donal Byrne said only regular patrons will be permitted entry and then only after testing negative – but with the promise that they can “enjoy a drink in the testing area” while waiting for the result.

Those in line to enter Eileen’s Bar are paying 10 euros (12.10 dollars) per test, with testing taking place between 5 and 7 pm (1700-1900 GMT).

According to the pub’s Facebook announcement, “the cost of the tests and testing is far greater than this but Eileen’s are happy to cover those costs to make sure our staff and customers are safe and protected”

Once inside, patrons are expected to follow government rules for reopened restaurants and pubs.

“There’ll be table service, hand sanitizer, social distancing,” Byrne said on Midwest Radio, a local station, on Thursday morning.

Ireland’s second coronavirus-related lockdown ended last week, with restaurants and pubs that serve food allowed to reopen on Friday.

But over 3,500 pubs that do not serve food cannot reopen, prompting anger among owners who said that eating a meal with beer makes little difference to whether the virus spreads or not.

“I am not serving food and food as we know does not stop Covid nor prevent Covid,” Byrne said on Thursday.

Ireland’s restaurants and pubs serving food were permitted to reopen in late June after Ireland’s first lockdown ended, before being forced to close again in October ahead of a second lockdown.

Pubs that do not serve food were permitted to reopen for just two weeks in September and October, though even that brief exemption did not apply in capital Dublin.

The “Covid-free” reopening of Eileen’s Bar comes one day after Europe’s first “Covid-tested” flight from New York to Rome. Singapore and Hong Kong recently announced a similar quarantine-free “travel bubble” based on rapid testing at both airports, but postponed implementation due to a resurgence of virus cases in Hong Kong.

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