Indoor drinks parties back on in Thor's heavenly kingdom

Drinking indoors or outdoors. It makes a world of difference, especially in winter. Some study associations are already back drinking in their bars, others are not. It depends for the most part on the kind of bar setup they have. Thor is lucky to have a roof terrace attached to its bar, The Walhalla.

So it seems that the policy on indoor drinks parties is not all that simple. When asked, Corine Spoor, TU/e Corona Program Manager, tells us that “this is something study associations agree on with their directors/building supervisors. If their bars are open, they will be following the hospitality & catering protocols issued by RIVM: 1m 50 distance between persons, each of whom is designated their own seat, and the observance of hygiene measures. In addition, advance booking is required and a health check is always carried out. Visitors are signed in. This enables source and contact tracing by the municipal health services (GGD) in the event of a case of infection."

Two become one

Cursor made a tour of several campus bars run by study associations and asked about their arrangements for drinks parties. Located in the basement of Atlas is the bar run by Lucid. Here, in principle, an indoor drinks party is allowed, but with only six persons - excluding bar staff. “It's not as we'd like it, so indoors there's simply nothing happening,” says Karel Aarts, a member of Lucid's bar committee.

At Intermate the bar currently has eleven places. It's the same story at Industria, whose bar is the same size as Intermate's. At the moment, the partition wall is open to create a safe route to walk and so the two association premises have, for the time being, become 'one'. The ambiance is sociable: even without alcohol and at a distance of at least 1m 50 the chatter is relaxed and enjoyable. “We aren't holding any indoor drinks at the moment, just outdoor drinks. These are events our members can sign up for online,” says Melissa Baars, treasurer at Intermate. Outdoor drinks are also all that is on offer at Industria. “Once or twice a week, with a maximum of fifty of people each time,” says education commissioner Bauke Wijnands.

Thor, the study association attached to Electrical Engineering and Automotive Technology, has a spot in Flux: The Walhalla. It's smart and spacious; they are allowed to have twenty people at an indoor drinks party. There's a strict floor plan showing the exact positioning of all the seating. There's also a roof terrace, which can accommodate another forty people. It's a tight-run ship: there is a check-in table and the students sign up for the drinks party before they arrive. Full is full, and members are given priority. “The space is well ventilated, which helps,” says Mike Zanderink, a member of Thor's prospective board. The first drinks party with the maximum number of guests has already been held “and was opened by the head of our department, Dean Bart Smolders. It was a success!”.

In or on The Roof Terrace

We made our inquiries not only in the bars we visited, but also at the other study associations. We found that, like many others, they are not yet holding any indoor drinks parties. As the secretary of study association JAPIE, Matthijs Coppens reports, “unfortunately it is not yet possible to drink socially indoors with the association because no more than six people are allowed in the F.O.R.T. bar. But drinks parties are going ahead outdoors.” Pepijn Vriens, commissioner In Vivo at Protagoras says that his association is unable to organize any indoor activities at present “and so our bar has not yet been used this academic year. Nor do we have an outdoor space of our own, but we are busy organizing drinks parties outdoors on the campus.”

GEWIS has a hopeful name for its bar: ‘The Roof Terrace’. Even so, drinks parties cannot be held here either. Max Opperman, secretary of GEWIS, “The primary reason for this is that in actual face we sit in The Roof Terrace and not on a roof terrace. Now more than ever this is a bitter pill to swallow. The upshot is we can't hold a drinks party in The Roof Terrace. As far I know, Thor and J.D. van der Waals are the only associations with a genuine roof terrace (they share the same roof terrace, ed.), and thus a readymade bar. For the time being, the rest of the study associations are having to arrange places off their premises to hold drinks parties,” says Opperman.

Curfew for association premises

That this is it as far as indoor drinks parties are concerned does not mean that the club houses are not being used: at the associations visited by Cursor we found various members at work or having a good chat over a cup of tea or coffee - at the appropriate distance. A proposal put forward by RIVM boss Jaap van Dissel to further restrict the drinking hours of study and student association has met with opposition among student organizations, the Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau reported on Monday. Van Dissel is suggesting a curfew due to the increase in infection clusters involving students. In the opinion of the student organizations, closing club houses earlier is precisely what will lead to more corona infections within households. At least the club houses are regulated, said president of the National Student Union Lyle Muns to the Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch national newspaper.

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