Mandatory Testing in Ireland’s 1st ”Covid-Free” Pub

THE OWNER of Eileen’s Bar in the west of Ireland claims it will be ”Covid-free” by giving customers mandatory PCR tests before they enjoy their pints.

On Thursday the pub reopened its doors in the village of Aghamore, County Mayo, despite Ireland’s law that pubs must sell food to reopen during the Christmas period. Donal Byrne, the bar’s owner, says that ”serving food does mean you are safe, but Covid testing does”.

His pub ordered a shipment of Covid tests from Germany, which Byrne claims is the same model that the WHO bought 120m of. Every customer must pay 10 euro to be tested before enjoying their evening, with results returned within 15 minutes.

”WHO said at the start of this that the only way out is with rapid testing”, says Byrne, who says the losses he makes on offering the tests are worth it ”to make sure our staff and customers are safe and protected”.

Eileen’s will only serve a maximum of 20 customers at a time, and only local regulars will be served. Once someone has passed the test and gained entry to the bar, they must still adhere to regulations such as facemasks and social distancing. If a customer leaves the premises they are not allowed back for the evening.

When asked how he’d respond if Gardai (police) arrived to confront him about breaching official Irish guidelines by reopening, Byrne said the pub would deal with that ”when it’s in front of us”.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...