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In Spain, beers from a distance thanks to a robot

By AFP | May 21st 2020 at 11:20:00 GMT +0300

No mouth, no nose, no hand, zero risk of contamination: The Gitana Loca server in Seville is perfect for serving beers to customers during a coronavirus pandemic. Even if he has no heart, because he is a robot.

Enthroned at the entrance to the bar, the machine consists of a large articulated arm fitted with a clamp at the end, in the Captain Hook style.

The robot grabs a plastic cup, pivots to bring it under the tap of the beer dispenser, which fills it to the brim with frothy liquid, before placing it on a shelf where the customer collects it.

In the center of the Andalusian capital, the robot has been in service since May 11, the very cautious and gradual start of the deconfinement of Spain, one of the countries most grieving by the epidemic with more than 27,700 dead.

Seville is still in the first phase, which authorizes the opening of the bar terraces, but with a very limited capacity and numerous hygiene and distancing measures.

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The owner of the Gitana Loca, a "low-cost" bar serving half-cents at 70 cents that we will pick up at the bar, had planned to equip another of its establishments with a robot well before confinement to increase the flow of sales.

But with the containment imposed in mid-March, the aircraft had not been put into service.

Finally, "we thought it would be ideal for phase 1" of deconfinement, explains to AFP the owner of the franchise Alberto Martinez.

"As the whole objective is to avoid contact between customers and all objects, (...) we said that the robot would be perfect to avoid contact with a plastic glass, then throw away, and so that everything is really self-service. "

Since May 11, the robot has attracted curious people and customers. Even if the bar is far from making a fortune, with only twelve customers allowed to sit on the terrace.

"For the moment it is not profitable to be open. But since we are in competition with other bars, we have to do something different. (With the robot), people see, first of all, that we’re open, and then something different happens in the corner bar, "says Martinez.

But not everyone is as enthusiastic.

"I believe that the relationship between the customer and the bartender, the person who serves you the beer, look in the eyes, see how he serves the beer, all that has an attraction that is lost with this robot, doesn't it?" Manuel Fernandez, a 33-year-old lawyer sitting on the terrace.

"I am not in favor of these machines, I prefer to take the risk and have my little beer served to me as we have always done," he concludes.

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