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COVID-19 Cafeteria

COVID-19 Cafeteria

Longer Lines, Fewer Options  

By Lauren Vizcarra 

New COVID-19 regulations have brought many changes to the cafeteria. 

Returning students may have been surprised by the menu modifications to the cafeteria. Where there were once 12 food options each day and an array of drinks to choose from, now there are far fewer choices. There are also many restrictions in place to keep the student body safe. 

As of now, there are only two entrées (one vegan/gluten free) along with prepackaged salads, cereals, and desserts. Missing are the international and pasta stations, as well as the waffle and sushi bars. Sweet tooths are missing the dessert assortment, soft serve ice cream, and the soda machine. There are no longer four different types of juices, or a broad selection of milks to go with your cereal.1 

Pizza has returned this week!2 As a much-missed student favorite, this is good news. The cafeteria is serving three kinds of pizza: margarita with basil, roasted vegetable, and a gluten-free option.  

When it goes live, the Bite app will be a convenient way to order food to go without setting foot in the cafeteria. Students will select their menu choices and pick-up time. During their specified time window, they will simply pick up their order on the cafeteria’s east side.  

There are many restrictions that are in place to keep the student body safe. Floor stickers remind students to keep a six-foot distance and direct them to dine-in or take-out lines. 

All utensils and dishware have been exchanged for plastic ones. Where once the cafeteria supplied reusable plates, silverware, and cups, everything has now become disposable. This is yet another safety measure in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.3 

“We need to do our part to keep the campus healthy and open,” said Tyreek Luckett, one of the cafeteria managers.4 He explained that while enforcing new number limiting restrictions is not his first choice, the staff must ask students to keep their tables to four people or less to comply with size guidelines. 

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Since only 145 students are allowed in the dining hall at one time, loitering at tables after meals is highly discouraged. This limitation, along with the lack of self-service stations, has created long lines.  

When sitting, people are allowed to remove their masks, but once they leave the table, masks must be put back on. Upon their departure, sanitation workers hurry to sanitize the tables and chairs with a peroxide-based cleaning solution, one of four different cleaners used.5 

There are fewer staff members working in the cafeteria. With fewer food options available, the cooks have had to make double or even triple the amount of food they would have in the past.6 Employees now must perform several jobs instead of just one.  

Luckily, the University’s COVID-19 policies have been effective, and there are still students on campus to use the cafeteria. 

Citations 

  1. Interview with Rosi Brower, cafeteria worker, 10/6/20. 
  1. Interview with Tyreek Luckett, day manager, 10/8/20. 
  1. Interview with Rosi Brower, cafeteria worker, 10/6/20. 
  1. Interview with Tyreek Luckett, day manager, 10/8/20. 
  1. Interview with John Murray, dining hall manager, 10/7/20. 
  1. Interview with Rosi Brower, cafeteria worker, 10/6/20. 
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