The Ormeau Baths co-working space in Belfast has reopened to members and has put in place a number of new measures designed to keep people safe from the ongoing risk of coronavirus.
Ormeau Baths is an entrepreneurial workspace in the heart of Belfast city centre that supports the brightest and best indigenous tech startups in Northern Ireland by helping them gain access to the networks, funding and expertise needed to succeed in global markets.
In March it announced that it would waive membership fees for startup members for three months in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and has now extended that holiday to include the month of July in order to give members time to come back to the space gradually.
It’s workspaces have been redesigned to ensure social distancing can be observed, with fewer seats in meeting rooms and a reduced number of hot desks. Ormeau Baths’ event space has also been redesigned as overflow workspace and an area for socially distanced team meetings. Hand sanitising stations have been installed throughout and cleaning enhanced.
In addition, the space now has thermal cameras at both entrances and secondary testing if an abnormal temperature is recorded, a green light system to notify when kitchens and bathrooms are free and optional colour coded wristbands to indicate a member’s comfort level with social interaction. A team of members who are also medical professionals has also been formed to regularly monitor government advice and health guidelines.
Claire Dowds, General Manager of Ormeau Baths, said: “We are excited to be back, optimistic for the future and as positive about the startup community in Northern Ireland as we ever were.
“Members will notice things look a little different, but we believe it was important that we got the doors to Ormeau Baths open again to allow people to interact and collaborate in person, albeit in a socially distanced way. Video calling was great for lockdown, but our members really value human connections and so being able to meet and talk in person will make a big difference.”
Ormeau Baths, has over 200 members, including more than 60 startup companies, and is also home to the Ignite NI accelerator programmes, NI Screen’s Pixel Mill and Digital Catapult’s Immersive Lab.
Members will be asked to complete an induction running through the new post-Covid 19 protocols and guidelines before they can return to work.
Claire added: “Our risk assessment process has been rigorous and we have not rushed back. But because of the layout of our buildings, we’re confident we can provide a safe collaborative environment for members of our community who now want to work at Ormeau Baths again. Post-lockdown more businesses are seeking a flexible option that allows them to work from home some of the time, so we are confident there will be continued interest in what we offer.”