Disruptive, or dystopian?
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If you had to choose one phrase to describe America’s collective response to Covid-19, “winging it” would be a good fit. From the absence of clear federal guidelines to uneven state-level policies, many businesses and restaurants are pretty much making it up as they go along, trying to balance public health with keeping their business open.

While it’s far from ideal, the (tiny) silver lining is that a chaotic situation like this can sometimes breed innovation, as businesses think and fend for themselves. For the latest example of that, we turn to San Antonio, where one restaurant claims to have devised a “disinfectant portal” to add a bit of science fiction to our current dystopia.

An invention of Alamo Biscuit Co, this archway will spray diners with a push of a button, blasting them with a skin-safe chlorine mist, which allegedly kills 99.7% of germs it comes in contact with. You’re definitely going to want to close your mouth before you walk through this thing, or it could ruin your meal before it even starts.

sanitizer-portal
Credit: Sanitizer 2You

Sanitizer 2You

While it seems like a strange device and is not considered mandatory for entry, restaurant owner John Vale says that feedback has been positive.

“We have customers that are using it as they come in, and then they use it as they go out,” he told Houston’s ABC 13, adding that “we don’t require our customers to use the portal.”

Could this sort of sanitation portal tech be easily replicated by other businesses? It can if you’ve got the money! Vale also owns Sanitizer 2You, which is responsible for constructing the portal. Their website doesn’t list a price, but they’ll consult with you on how to make your disinfecting archway dreams a reality.

We don’t yet live in a world where you can simply step through a portal and get inoculated from a deadly virus—let alone live in a country that can do as good of a job at keeping cases down as the rest of the first world. But at least you can get sprayed with disinfectant before going to eat some biscuits. Thank goodness for that.