Belfast bar shares negative TripAdvisor review likening visit to ‘medical exam’ to make important point about coronavirus

Sarah Young
·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A bar in Northern Ireland has shared a negative Tripadvisor review to make a point about the importance of adhering to safety guidelines during a pandemic.

On Thursday, Voodoo Belfast, which is located in Belfast city centre, shared a recent two-star review on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In the review, which was posted on travel platform Tripadvisor, the person likened their visit to a “medical exam” after being asked to wear a mask and have their temperature checked.

“Shame. We were looking forward for a pint in here once opened again. Unfortunately, on entering it was like we had to conduct a medical exam first,” the person wrote, explaining that a member of staff at the bar asked them to wear a mask as they entered – as per current government guidelines in Northern Ireland.

“We told him we were exempt, which he said was ok,” the author added. “Next, before asking, he went at me with the temperature gun, invading my personal space and privacy! I recoiled. No thank you.

“We told him we'd go elsewhere, before the his track and trace clipboard came out. Way over the top. Not a pleasant experience.”

The reviewer then said they left Voodoo and visited another bar, which had “no mention of wearing a mask, no guns, no track and trace!”

While most establishments would be dismayed to find that they had received a two-star review, Voodoo Belfast instead chose to share it on social media.

“When is a bad review actually a good review? Answer: In the middle of a pandemic,” wrote Ciaran Smyth, director of the bar.

“At Voodoo we want to ensure all of our staff and customers are safe. We want to show governments and scientists that live music can come back again and it’s in safe hands.”

Speaking to Belfast Live about the post, Voodoo's general manager added: “Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but we saw that posted in a public forum and we thought it was right to have the chance to give our own say on it.”

Since sharing the review on social media, Smyth’s post has received more than 2,000 likes on Twitter with many people writing in the comments section to praise the bar for putting its customer’s safety first.

“Well done for sticking to the guidelines. What I don't really understand is why someone – knowing there are guidelines for checks, track and trace etc – would come on out for the night and then object,” one person wrote.

Another agreed, adding: “Ridiculous attitude. Definitely a good review – great that you’re taking all the precautions to keep your staff and customers safe, thank you for doing so.”

In Northern Ireland face masks are mandatory in hospitality settings when not eating or drinking.

The government website says: “There are circumstances where it is not possible to wear a face covering, for example, where you are eating or drinking in a restaurant, pub or café.

“If you are a customer of a food takeaway business, or a shop that sells food or drink for immediate consumption, and it provides seating for its customers, you may remove your face covering while eating and drinking at those seats.”

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