Ali Finkel struck a pose poolside in a skimpy bikini, then uploaded it to Instagram on Monday.
“Covid free,” she crowed in the caption.
Finkel, who spent the day sunning at Long Island City’s newly reopened Profundo pool and lounge, knows her coronavirus status because the venue requires on-site testing before entry. Results come back in seven minutes, and healthy partiers can proceed to the Ravel Hotel’s outdoor deck for some chlorinated revelry.
The hotel, located at 8-08 Queens Plaza South, partnered with New Jersey-based Vestibular Diagnostics to provide private COVID-19 testing for all guests with a reservation for the pool or one of the hotel’s two other eateries with outdoor dining. Medical personnel operate five Abbott Laboratories machines that process the rapid-response tests, which were deployed during the pool’s opening weekend in what hotel owners believe is a first for the city.
“We have an empty 10,000-square-foot ballroom since large events and weddings were pushed to next year. So we turned it into a COVID testing center, like any CityMD,” co-owner and executive chef Seth Levine told The Post.
Profundo, a popular summertime hot spot with views of the Manhattan skyline, is now open from Thursdays through Mondays with cocktails, food and live tunes from a DJ. After two sessions, one from noon to 5 p.m. and the other 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., the venue undergoes a two-hour deep clean.
But getting in is a schlep: Before stepping foot on the property, any guest with a reservation fills out a digital questionnaire, which gets reviewed by a doctor. Groups planning to hang out closer than six feet arrive together. They can toast non-alcoholic drinks at the “hydration bar,” then get their temperatures taken before entering the ballroom where the requisite nasal swab is performed. (The test costs $35 with insurance and $50 without it.)
The temporary patients decamp to a waiting area and receive results about seven minutes later. If the coronavirus test comes back negative, congratulations: Put on a neon green bracelet to boast your status and get escorted to the hotel’s third floor, which includes Profundo as well as new Greek restaurant Perivóli.
Nightlife publicist Will Henriques posted a video on Instagram that details the COVID-19 vetting process.
Antibody testing is available as well for those curious to know if they may have had the virus in the past. The roughly 2,000 people who celebrated Profundo’s first weekend back in business tested negative, Levine revealed. Many did test positive for antibodies, though.
“We want guests to enjoy socializing and getting out of their homes,” said Levine. “We’re providing a safe haven to do that. I don’t know of another hospitality venue doing that.”
The hotel is following all other recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Levine added. Profundo and Ravel’s other outdoor spaces are oeprating at 50 percent capacity. Lounge chairs and tables are now spaced six feet apart, the staff is decked out in PPE and guests are required to wear masks when venturing away from their designated seating area. Surfaces are regularly sanitized.
Guests have to get tested every time they come back to the hotel, even if they were tested before, Levine added.
Levine hopes to open other parts of the hotel with the same measures and eventually host large-scale events. “With five doctors and five machines, we could test a wedding of 200 people in about 40 minutes,” he said.
Although Ravel seems to be the first implementing testing before entering, Levine thinks other businesses should consider it. “It’s a forward-thinking idea,” he said. “But we’re in a crazy world right now, and we’re just trying to get through it as safely as we can.”
He’s even open to offering Ravel’s testing facility to other hospitality companies. “If venues want staff or guests to be tested and then shuttled, we’d consider it,” added Levine. “We just want everyone to feel a little safer and party a little harder.”