Hundreds of Irish restaurants, bars and hotels have installed Covid-eliminating ozone machines in a bid to avoid future shut downs.
Customer demand for improved hygiene standards has seen sales of the devices rise by over 200% in recent weeks as indoor dining returns for the first time since Christmas, on July 26.
Dublin-based Sanity System is the worldwide distributor of the portable machines, which use ozone gas to sanitise the air and surfaces of indoor spaces.
“With Covid cases now reaching almost 1,400 on certain days, restaurant owners have told us they want them as another weapon to prevent any future closures,” said the firm’s Managing Director, David Byrne.
“Pubs, restaurants and cafes are dreading the nightmare scenario of having to close again in the event of an outbreak.”
The devices were installed at Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud restaurant in Dublin at the weekend, where head chef Kieran Glennon said they will play a significant part in safely re-opening indoor hospitality.
“Hopefully we are coming to the end of an extremely difficult time for the restaurant sector and devices such as these play a big role in re-opening because they instil confidence in customers,” he said.
“Some of them are returning for the first time since March 2020 and clean air and sanitisation will now be seen as a priority, not an optional extra.”
The ‘plug and play’ machines operate by using ozone to purify the air and surfaces of workplaces, entertainment venues or vehicles – meaning glass, carpets, walls and other areas are safely cleaned.
The procedure then reverses itself to remove any remaining ozone so the premises or vehicle can be used as soon as the process finishes.
Licensed by the Department of Agriculture, the machines are used by the HSE, Revenue Commissioners, Gardai and a multitude of business and motor companies.
“Vaccination provides a high level of safety but it is still possible to contract Covid 19, despite being fully vaccinated, so the hospitality industry is now looking for every possible way to safeguard customers and staff,” said Mr Byrne.
“People want to be in a sanitised environment. Even if you have had your vaccinations, are you happy to be in a place which is not clean?
“There is a higher standard expected now, and rightly so. Covid 19 put a serious spotlight on the need for sanitisation.
“Cafes, restaurants and pubs can’t wait for a slow start, they need to get people as comfortable as possible with indoor dining. Hospitality doesn’t want another false dawn.”
The machines can be rented or bought outright on the firm’s website, Sanitysystem.ie.