Cork restaurant owner to implement new booking system that will help with Covid-19 contact tracing

Cork restaurant owner to implement new booking system that will help with Covid-19 contact tracing
Coqbull on Academy Street, Cork. OwnerMike Ryan in the kitchen. 

Cork Chair of the Restaurant Association of Ireland and restaurateur Mike Ryan has said that a new booking system at his restaurants will allow for contact tracing upon reopening.

The owner of Cornstore and Coqbull in the city centre said that the online booking system is “on fire” and that while walk-ins are also welcome, they will be treated as bookings.

“If someone walks in, I still have to take their details and treat it as if it’s a booking straight away because tables have to be available for people to sit down straight away, not to have people standing at the door and congregating with other people.” Coqbull which deals with 80% walk-ins and Cornstore which operates with about 40% walk-ins have a system in place that can be adapted where bookings can be taken with a phone and information will be sent to the central system.

“Who I feel sorry for is bars, particularly the bars that don’t even have a proper till system to bring them into the 21st century, never mind having a booking reservation system.

“It’s not that hard for us or the majority of restaurants but it’s difficult for the smaller bars who go about things the old school way,” Mr Ryan said.

It comes as a recent survey found that the majority of Irish adults are willing to download a contact tracing app to their smartphone to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

Researchers from Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, University of Limerick, and National University of Ireland Galway, found that 82% of adults would download such an app.

However, people also expressed privacy concerns, including that the Government, technology firms, or hackers might use the information for other purposes.

In the survey, ‘A National Survey Of Attitudes To Covid-19 Digital Contact Tracing In The Republic Of Ireland’, 98% of the 8,000 respondents said they understood the concept of contact tracing and 96% said that informing the HSE about close contacts is important if someone develops symptoms.

Mr Ryan said that by taking a booking, he will have the name and contact information of at least one person sitting at each table if the need to hand over their details to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) arises.

“If you’re after coming in and booking a table and had four friends in with you on a Saturday night and I get a phone call from the HSA saying, “we have a case of someone that has Covid-19 and they were in your premises Saturday night and I need the list of everyone that was in your premises at the time the person was in on Saturday night”, I just give them the person's name.

“That person is supposed to know everyone that was sitting at the table and they then talk to that person. That’s how it’s done,” he said.

Dr Jim Buckley, of Lero, said the response to a contact tracing app was “very heartening” but that there is no room for complacency, and eliminating the disease “requires a high degree of participation from the public and evidence-based app development”.

51% of respondents said they “definitely will install” the app, if it becomes available, and 31% said they “probably will install” it while 10% said they “may or may not install” the app.

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