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Ennis nightclub looks to test waters with pilot reopening

A POPULAR Ennis nightclub is making all the right moves towards a potential re-opening on a pilot basis.
In recent weeks, facilitated by Ennis Chamber, management of The Queens and directors of antigen testing company, Westland Health, which is headquartered in Ennis, have created a “considered and robust plan” to support a safe pilot nightclub reopening for a maximum of 250 people.
If the pilot is given the go-ahead, antigen testing will be delivered by professional nurse practitioners on behalf of Westland Health.
Clare Fine Gael TD, Joe Carey, has made representations to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, in an effort to seek support for the pilot reopening.
Donal Lyne, Queens nightclub director, commented, “We need to look beyond outdoor events and we need to look beyond Dublin to pilot a safe reopening of the night-time economy.
“Nightclubs throughout Ireland have been shuttered since March 2020 and currently we are in the dark about when we will have permission to reopen.
“Pilots have already taken place in the UK and in several EU cities and towns. We can learn from those pilots, to stage a safe pilot reopening in Ennis.
“What we are talking about is a single event in the first instance, with 250 volunteer attendees, who must agree to pre and post-event antigen testing.”
Westland Health’s antigen testing team is led by nurse practitioners, who are experienced when it comes to testing at scale, as they work with employers and large organisations throughout Ireland.
They envisage being able to test 100 volunteer clubbers per hour in advance of the proposed pilot. Follow-up antigen testing would be arranged within five days of the event.
Darragh McAllister, President of Ennis Chamber, and himself a publican, said, “Ennis was the first town in Ireland to achieve Purple Flag status, which it still retains.
“This demonstrates our strong track record in putting people’s safety at the heart of our evening and night-time economy.”
Deputy Carey commented, “I strongly support this initiative. While society is slowly opening up, I feel that if we were to utilise antigen testing, as supplied by companies like Westland Health, it would speed up the opening process and be a huge boost to businesses, who need as much support as we can offer,” he added.
“It has been a few years since I was in the Queens but it has been a rite of passage for Clare people from all over the county.
“If they get the go-ahead for this pilot and play Rhythm is a Dancer, I’d nearly be tempted to hit the dance floor myself,” Deputy Carey warned.
“In all seriousness though, I have made representations to An Taoiseach, providing him with full details of this innovative and carefully considered proposal.
“A number of pilot reopening cultural and sporting events are planned, why not have one in Ennis, which is the largest town in Munster?
“I am hopeful that this pilot will be given the green light. It would be a huge boost, not just for the Queens but for business in the town of Ennis.
“Also, young people need something to look forward to,” he said.

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