One of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions, The Blarney Castle & Gardens, has reopened its Blarney Stone attraction after COVID-19 restrictions.
It's said that kissing the Blarney Stone will give you the gift of the gab but after the outbreak of COVID-19, the staff at Blarney Castle & Gardens had much more to worry about. However, having been on lockdown since March the Blarney Stone is open for business once again.
From June 29th, Ireland has entered "Phase 3" of its roadmap to recovery from COVID-19. This means that restrictions have been lifted but rigorous guidelines remain in place.
For the first time in the Blarney Stone's 600 year history, the coronavirus had shut down the tourist attraction but those running the castle and garden have been working tirelessly to make sure that those visiting can feel free to kiss the Blarney Stone once more.
The Blarney Castle & Gardens team will now use a cleanser, which is World Health Organization approved and kills 99.9% of germs that may be on the stone. This spray has been tested on the stone and has proven its effectiveness in killing bacteria/viruses but also that it is safe for people to come in contact with.
In case you wondered, this is how you kiss the Blarney Stone, upsidedown:
The new spray will be used between visitors, allowing just one minute's drying time between guests.
The person holding people kissing the stone will be wearing a protective face shield and gloves. The gloves will be changed/cleaned after each person.
The mat people lie on, and the bars they hold will be cleaned after every person.
There is a hand sanitizer unit located just after kissing the stone so people can clean their hands after holding the bars.
The staff members holding people kissing the stone will be temperature checked daily before starting work.
In order to maintain social distancing within the castle, the number of people in the building will be limited.
There will be numerous hand sanitizer stations throughout the castle, before entering the stairs and also leaving, meaning people can clean their hands if they have used the handrails.
A staff member at regular intervals throughout the day will spray the stairwells, handrails, and rope with anti-bacterial cleanser.
Owner Charles Colthurst "We believe this is a significant introduction of measures to help make this 600-year-old tradition as safe as possible.
"There are some very difficult times ahead in the tourism industry but hopefully this is the start of our journey over the coming years to try and grow our visitor numbers back to similar levels before the COVID situation.
"We hope to see you all very soon, whether it is to step back in time and learn the famous history of Blarney Castle or explore the world-class gardens that we have on offer."
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