The UCD University Club has announced it will be officially reopening on Tuesday, 4th of August, with numerous social distancing measures in place. The Club has remained closed since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The private club, situated adjacent to the O’Reilly Hall, is traditionally exclusive to UCD staff, alumni, visiting guests and other dignitaries. However, the Club will temporarily be “welcoming non-members and guests throughout the month of August”, likely in an effort to kickstart activity following its forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of safety measures will be implemented in the Club to minimise the risk of the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing of 2 metres, limited seating, and the use of disposable cups within the dining areas of the Club. All persons must sign in at the reception desk, wash and sanitise their hands regularly, and use contactless payments.
The phased reopening of the Club will begin on Tuesday, with only the Club Café and Meeting Rooms accessible at present. The remaining facilities will be reopened in due course: “Currently we are planning to open the Bar and Restaurant in September and O’Reilly Hall will open later in September (due to refurbishment). All will be under the advisement of the Government”, the Club told The College Tribune.
“The health and safety of our members, visitors and staff is our highest priority. We will be strictly complying with the advice and instructions given by the HSE. As such we will take a cautious and staged approach to reopening the facilities. This will be constantly reviewed and amended as and when sufficient demand and mass is reached, and in line with Government directives”, the Club states on their website.
The two-storey clubhouse, projected to cost around €13.7 million, was previously reported by The College Tribune to have run €1.3 million under budget. Upon its official opening in May 2019, the total cost of construction lay just shy of €12.4 million.
The establishment of the Club has been fiercely opposed by staff and students alike. In March of this year, approximately 200 students, led by the UCD Students’ Union and alliance group Fix Our Education, congregated outside the premises on the Belfield campus in protest to the increasing commercialisation of the university and its activities. Over 400 UCD staff members pledged to boycott the Club prior to its construction in retaliation to the closure of the 43-year-old staff Common Room, which the University Club endeavoured to replace.
Nessa Collins – Assistant News Editor