Iowa City bar adds air purifying system to help decrease COVID-19 exposure

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:15 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Iowa City bar is hoping to give a bit more peace of mind to customers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on.

Bryan Flynn, the owner of Joe’s Place, purchased multiple air purifying systems to be used inside, hoping to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

“We are going to continue to provide the safest environment possible and hope that we don’t get shut back down and it at least gives people the option to say, ‘let’s go over to Joe’s Place, their air is clean,'" Flynn said.

An installer with Modern Companies said the system was recommended by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The system attaches to existing HVAC units, electrically charges ions in the air, attaching to pathogens and viruses like Covid-19 in the air, making them filterable.

“There is kind of that added layer of security, just by nature of having to take your mask off, there is still something protecting you here,” Julia Beasley, Joe’s Place director of operations, said.

The system ranges in cost, depending on the size of the building and the number of HVAC units, but can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand.

“Especially for older buildings downtown," Flynn said. “[Joe’s Place] technically goes across four buildings and you have a different HVAC for each one, so you have to put in four different units. So it gets expensive, but I think the investment is worth it in the end.”

The Environmental Protection Agency said air purifiers do help filter out viruses, but alone don’t protect against COVID-19.

“There is a lot of unknowns, but certainly we recognize that having good air circulation is a positive and certainly lowers some risk, to what that extent is it’s hard to say,” Sam Jarvis, with Johnson County Public Health, said.

Joe’s Places still requires a mask, social distancing, and follows other COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“We are starting to turn the corner on the whole thing and again the air purifier is just a way to make people more comfortable about coming inside, still being social distanced,” Flynn said.

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