No coughing the past few days? No temperature or runny nose? Nor any roommates with such symptoms? Good, says the girl at the entrance to the Koko grounds, to the rear of the railway lines on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. The visitor subsequently receives a dose of disinfectant spray on his hands and is allowed to continue. Just like the rest of the catering industry, student association bars are open again. How does that work? Observant visited Koko to have a look.
Initially, it just looks like a regular drink, outside student association Koko’s bar. Students chatting away with beers in their hands. But on closer inspection, one can spot the differences with the pre-corona era. Everyone is sitting at a picnic table, a maximum of four at one time. Catching up with friends at another table is done by raising your voice, not by getting closer. Anyone going inside to get beer, enters by one door and leaves by another.
Another important difference: everyone has to make a reservation. “There are also tables inside, 30 people are allowed in every evening,” says chairman Jordi Janssen. Members can book a table from 12:00hrs on the day by sending a WhatsApp message to a special number. The bar is full every evening; twice it was even full at 12.01hrs.
The members have no problem with taking that extra step to make a reservation. “You just have to make sure you give that task to someone with a strong sense of responsibility,” a student grins. Only to teasingly add: “Or to take strict measures if that is not successful.” A group of girls spread out over two tables “especially pleased that we can see each other again”. Beforehand, they feared that it would be a little weird, so far away from each other. “But it is better than we anticipated, it is just good fun.”
Traditionally, these would be the last weeks of the season for student associations. Most members go on holiday or return to their parents during the summer. Will that be different this year? “During the summer months, we normally check every Friday if people want to come for a drink,” says Janssen. “If so, the bar is opened. If there is enough interest, we will now open on other days too.”