They are more in demand than ever and have to work where others are partying: the professionals of the Luxembourg Public Health Service have been helping café and discotheque owners to issue certified rapid antigen tests on site this summer, because no one can get in without them after 1 a.m.
"First one side, wait a bit, turn five times, and the same again on the other side, please" is a phrase that bar and disco goers have been hearing constantly for the past few weeks. With the latest Covid law, which officially came into force on July 16, came new adjustments to hygiene measures, including the requirement for certified rapid tests when partying after 1 a.m. Anyone who wants to dance or drink late into the night without a mask must have their being corona negative certified.
A government decision that caused an uproar in Luxembourg's nightlife, because it was here that one of the worst fights for survival since the beginning of the pandemic was waged. "Existences are at stake, discos had to stay closed for a long time and are still not allowed to operate at full. When you have to send half of them home at midnight, it gets dicey", says nurse Christiane. Together with her sister and a pharmacist friend, the health professional has been issuing certified rapid tests in front of the Melusina nightclub for a few weeks to help implementing the rules in practice.
"I've known one of the owners for 20 years and when I was here for a "thé dansant" at some point, we talked about the current difficulties of the situation. Initially, the rule was that only people with a CovidCheck code were allowed to party after midnight, but the problem is that discos are generally open until at least 3.00 a.m. How could they have done that?", says Christiane. As the nurse had some spare time at the time of the decision, she decided to offer her service to her long-time acquaintance, because as a health professional she is authorised to issue the required certificates.
Before that, she and her sister, who also works as a nurse and was a first responder during the pandemic as well as in the vaccination centres, helped out at the city bar "De Gudde Wëllen" to conduct rapid tests. The first time they were deployed at the Grund was three weeks ago, because just before the month-long summer break in August, the parties at the Melusina are in full swing. "We usually test from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., after that no one is allowed in", says pharmacist Olivier, who helps his colleagues with after-hours work.
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The heroes of the night
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