COVID-killing robot: Charlotte coffee shop brings on $3,800 machines that claim to kill airborne virus

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Thursday, October 22, 2020
Charlotte coffee shop brings on 'COVID-killing robot'
The machine flashes a UV light that kills 99.9% of airborne virus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has caused day-to-day life to short-circuit, but a Charlotte business may have found a mechanical-based solution that has nothing to do with Clorox wipes or hand sanitizer.

A coffee shop in the Queen City is using a COVID-19 fighting robot to keep customers safe. "The Hobbyist" has two of the machines, which cost roughly $3,800 each. The machine flashes a UV light that's said to kill 99.9% of airborne viruses, including the flu and COVID-19.

Whether UV light actually kills COVID-19 in the air is not clear. On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website it says, "The efficacy of alternative disinfection methods, such as ultrasonic waves, high intensity UV radiation, and LED blue light against COVID-19 virus is not known."

"We decided to go for it," said Julie Woodside, co-owner of the shop. "Especially with the COVID numbers being higher than ever right now, we're trying to really do everything that we can to make sure that we can make our shop as safe as we can for everybody."

After the shop closes, the machine sterilizes the shop. The Carolina Panthers have brought on a similar machine for Bank of America Stadium to use in locker rooms, offices, restrooms and suites.

On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that Phase 3 of his COVID-19 restrictions would remain in place for the next three weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases. The extension means restaurants are still subject to capacity limits and other requirements for in-person dining.