Coronavirus: £10,000 heat tests in place for Robin 2's gig goers
A £10,000 state-of-the-art thermal camera screening system has been put in place at a leading Black Country live music club ready for when restrictions are eased on the entertainment industry.
It is the latest investment in the Robin 2 by owner Fraser Tranter, who has spent £300,000 on the Bilston club since he bought it two years ago.
Mr Tranter is still waiting to hear when venues like his will be able to offer bands again, but decided to use the Covid-19 lockdown to upgrade the Robin 2 in Mount Pleasant as well as taking steps like putting in the camera system, buying PPE, new cleaning equipment and giving the complete club –including its stage, upstairs 40-seat restaurant Rhythms, artists' green room, toilets and bars – a deep clean.
"We want to keep everyone safe. Temperatures will be taken automatically on entry at the rear entrance off Caledonia Street next to the car park.
"As people come through to the ticket office they will be filmed and anyone with a temperature over 37.8C will be refused entry.
"If they say something like they have run from the bus, we will let them sit down for 10 minutes and then try again," explained Mr Tranter.
Macaw Security Solutions of Redditch, which had installed the club's existing CCTV system, has provided the special new camera.
Director Steve Hands said: "We recognised the need at an early stage to offer a way for our small and medium-sized business customers to keep operating."
Key account manager Vinnie Haywood said: "There were a number of different systems on the market and we did the research to find one that offered accuracy on temperature. It is accurate up to 0.3 degrees.
"We have built it and trialled it at the Robin 2 to ensure the accuracy of the readings.
"We are now providing similar systems for other clubs and engineering companies who need to meet Government guidelines and invest in th wellbeing and safety of employees."
Mr Haywood stressed it was not a Covid-19 detection system and can only show when someone has a high temperature which can by a symptom of coronavirus and other viruses.
"It negates the need to have someone standing there and doing physical temperature readings which is difficult to do with two metre social distancing and is costly.
"The system can be set up to give an audible alarm and it also sends an e-mail with a photograph of the individual so they can be identified by staff," he explained.
Mr Tranter, who needs to be able to operate as a 700-capacity club or not be able to stage bigger concerts with top names, said: "It had all been going very well until the virus hit.
"It has been a costly exercise to get the Robin to where it is. It is a good business but it is expensive to run. I had only just put in a new video wall at the back of the stage and new bench seating just before the lockdown and our final concert – The Counterfeit Stones – on March 14,"
He said the coronavirus crisis had been a "total nightmare" and he has had to furlough most of the Robin 2's 25-strong staff with ticket sales being done through an online partner ticketing company.
"We are looking at reopening in August, but with a massive crossing of fingers. We have moved all of the postponed dates and any tickets purchased for those concerts will be valid for new dates.
"If concerts cannot be rearranged we hope fans will opt to use them for another show instead."
Mr Tranter says he cannot see how the club can operate if complete social distancing has to be applied.
"You can't enforce social distancing with bands like Sham 69 or a Sex Pistols tribute," he added.
Details of when the Robin 2 can eventually reopen will be posted on its website at www.therobin.co.uk as soon as it is confirmed.
*Details of the Macaw screening system are available on its website at www.macawss.com
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