As the Delta variant continues to drive a spike in COVID-19 infections, a growing number of businesses have begun requiring proof of vaccination, or proof of a recent negative COVID test, for entrance. As the INDY has previously reported, those businesses include venues (Motorco Music Hall, Cat’s Cradle, the Pour House, the Pinhook, and the Haw River Ballroom, among others) as well as restaurants and bars (Rue Cler, Pizzeria Toro, Jack Tar, Pizzeria Mercato, Kingfisher, and others). 

Today on Instagram, popular downtown Durham divey bar Kotuku Surf Club—which can, on most weekends, be found overflowing with music, college students, townies, and PBRs—announced that it is also requiring proof of vaccination.

It also has an additional unorthodox requirement: the minimum age for patrons has been raised from 21 to 23. 

It is uncommon, though not unheard of, for bars to have an age requirement above 21, the legal age to drink; the now-closed Whiskey bar and cigar lounge in downtown Durham, formerly at 347 W. Main Street, had an age requirement (and was also known to have an unspoken dress requirement) of 23 and up. 

2016 report by Food & Wine found that some bars in the country—specifically ones in Washington, D.C., and New York City—do have age requirements above 21. (North Carolina recognizes age discrimination, but only in cases of employment for those 40 or older.)

The move-in date for Duke University students was August 17. The university required proof of vaccination for enrollment this year, and though there have been breakthrough cases, as students and staff trickle back, the rate of breakthrough cases is below the state average.  

“We know that these changes may not be universally popular but we are not willing to sacrifice the safety of our staff, patrons, and community for the sake of a few more dollars,” the Surf Club Instagram post reads. “These are hard decisions to make but we do so to help us to provide a safe enjoyable experience for our customers and staff.”

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