In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- U.S. Senate dining operations close six outlets
As the Senate works on a $1 trillion aid package to mitigate the disastrous economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, food service workers supporting the business of the chamber will work reduced operating hours. Six outlets—Coffee Shop, American Grill, Dirksen Buffet, Refectory, Inside Scoop and Cups & Company—will all be closed while the Dirksen Cafe will remain open from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The Senate Dining Room will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Senate Carryout will be accessible from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. or until the last scheduled vote, with a 9 p.m. cutoff. The hours of operation apply to weekdays.
Lawrence Barr, the acting Senate superintendent, said in an email that the changes to restaurant operations and hours were among the steps being taken “to actively practice social distancing by modifying operations to reduce interactions across campus.”
Food service at the Senate is provided by contractors Restaurant Associates and KSC Inc.
- Community college offers drive-by pickup of food for food-insecure students
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College students facing food insecurity during the coronavirus crisis can pick up bags of food through drive-by pickups over the next three weeks, with bags provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We know many students struggle to buy healthy food and other essentials, and those challenges will only increase as businesses close their doors during the crisis,” said Lina Blair, GRCC’s director of Student Life and Conduct.
Much of the food has been donated by GRCC employees as well as the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and GRCC Campus Dining.
- Departing Loyola students use remaining dining dollars to stock community pantry
At Loyola University in Chicago, students flooded Iggy’s Cupboard, Loyola’s community pantry, with donations of nonperishable food items as it became clear that campus dining options would quickly become limited.
With the majority of campus dining options closing and students being asked to vacate the dorms, students quickly realized their remaining Wolfbucks, Loyola’s debit dining dollars, would be rendered useless. Following President Tania Tetlow’s March 11 announcement, an hour-long line formed outside The Market, as students tried to spend half a semester’s worth of money in one trip.
“We were bombarded with students coming in and out of the Cupboard to donate food,” Dale O’Neill, director of student life and ministry said.
- NBA arena donates perishables and its chef offers free lunch
In a move similar to what’s happening at many other shuttered sports/entertainment venues, the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and concessions partner Levy donated the Target Center arena’s perishable food to the Twin Cities community at a free community farmers’ market on March 19. In order to conform with health practices, people were asked to bring their own shopping bags, with only 10 at a time wearing rubber gloves that are being provided being allowed into the market at a time.
In addition, Timberwolves Executive Chef David Fhima offered free lunch to those in need from his Fare Well Foods food truck.
“It is times like these when we as a community need to come together more than ever and take care of each other,” Fhima told the media. “For most of my life, all me and my colleagues have known how to do is feed people and today is no different to assist our community in this time of need.”
- Duke commits to paying contract foodservice workers through May 31
At Duke University, hotel employees and full-time food service workers, not just faculty and staff, will keep their current pay until May 31. Contract workers who currently have jobs in Duke dining facilities, the Washington Duke Inn and J.B. Duke Hotel are set to keep their salaries until May 31. Those employees aren't paid directly by Duke, but work at the university. Duke will provide financial assistance to make sure that commitment is met if the workers' employers are unable to pay and the workers aren't "covered by pending state and federal government programs," Executive Vice President Tallman Trask announced in an email to the Duke community last week.
However, Trask noted that it may become necessary for Duke employees and contract workers' job responsibilities to change depending on the university’s needs. He did not provide any details on what that would entail at this time.
Previously, Duke had only publicly ensured that the pay of faculty and staff would be maintained no matter their schedule or location, while on-campus dining and other services would remain open with limited hours.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]
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