Hotel offering rapid COVID-19 tests to customers hosts packed rooftop parties
Ravel Hotel in Long Island City is in hot water after facilitating a number of raucous weekend parties at its rooftop pool lounge, Gothamist reports. People flocked to the rooftop after it opened on June 25, in part because it was advertising rapid COVID-19 tests for all customers before entry. Once inside, the social distancing measures appeared to be extremely relaxed — many customers were filmed not wearing masks and standing in crowded quarters around the pool lounge.
The rapid testing was billed by the hotel as creating a “safe haven” for partygoers, but Gothamist reports that the process, called the Abbott tests, has been called into question by the FDA and other experts in the field for its rates of inaccuracy in detecting the virus. The medical partner that the hotel works with to administer the tests has also come under fire for overcharging lab fees for COVID-19 testing in the past. Ravel’s tests cost customers $35 with insurance and $50 without insurance, and some people had to wait as much as an hour and a half for their results before being able to enter the lounge.
The hotel’s co-owner, Seth Levine, told Gothamist that Ravel has “never guaranteed that what we’re doing is a 100% effective thing.”
An official from the mayor’s office told the publication that the city is following up with the hotel owners to ensure that they are in compliance with social distancing guidelines, and the city’s Office of Nightlife confirmed that they also fielded complaints from Ravel and are in touch with the operators about the situation.
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— An existential crisis:
To be honest I have no idea what I want anymore pic.twitter.com/If35C3ObpH— Bridger Winegar (@bridger_w) July 3, 2020