A student picks up food from the counter at Sizzles in the Ellicott Complex while another student waits from an appropriate distance.
A student uses hand sanitizer before getting into a socially distanced line for food service in the Ellicott Complex.
Published July 30, 2020
It might not be business as usual, but Campus Dining and Shops (CDS) has a COVID-19 plan to serve students and other members of the university community when they return for the fall semester that includes observing safety regulations, providing constantly updated information and preserving some of the fun of eating campus food.
“We understand these are certainly challenging times, but our goal is to make sure we provide food service in the safest way possible,” says Raymond Kohl, CDS marketing manager.
“Our staff is ready to meet everyone and serve everyone. Guests might not be able to see it, but there certainly will be a smile underneath their masks.”
One innovation to respond to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation is a frequently updated Campus Dining website for residents and their families to receive the most timely information on dining and other services.
The other key development is CDS’ new GET app, a mobile platform that provides convenience by linking students’ UB Cards right to their smartphones.
Students can order food, make reservations, add funds and pay, all by using the GET app. The GET app allows for a contactless transaction and avoids swiping of UB cards. Instructions on how to get the GET app are located on CDS’ Manage Account webpage.
Starting Aug. 22, Crossroads Culinary Center (C3) will be open for dinner each night from 4:30-8:30 p.m. C3 will operate as an all-you-care-to-eat dining center using a zoned and timed reservation system through the GET app.
There will be four zones of 50 seats each, all positioned a safe distance from each other. Students can visit food stations and have food served (there will be no buffet facilities). They then will return to their socially distanced tables and enjoy food for 45 minutes.
There will then be a 15-minute gap before the next dinners arrive to allow staff to clean, disinfect and sanitize those areas for the next timed group.
After sanitization, a Campus Dining and Shops employee changes the table sign to show that the area has been sanitized.
This table sign clearly states that the area has been sanitized and is safe to use. The sign also reminds diners to wash their hands before eating.
Students and staff are expected to remain at least 6 feet apart, except for when accepting food from a dining team member. All students and staff must wear a face covering in public spaces and keep it on except when actively drinking and eating.
The other two campus dining areas will operate as retail food locations. The dining areas at Governors Complex on the North Campus and Goodyear on the South Campus will have limited seating based on social distance guidelines on a first-come, first-serve basis, Kohl says.
Students will be able to place their mobile order through the GET app and either pick their food up or eat in the dining hall, depending on space.
Other locations inside the Student Union marketplace, including Tim Hortons, Jamba Juice, Moe’s and Champa Sushi, will be open for takeout. Pistachio’s dining area will be closed, but Bravo Pasta will be open for mobile orders and pickup only.
UB Cards will be swiped to deduct meals, dining points, Campus Cash and FlexiBull Bucks at all locations. But diners are strongly encouraged to download the GET app and use the scan card feature for a contactless transaction.
Since hours and availability could change, Campus Dining officials recommend diners go to today’s hours section of the Campus Dining website for up-to-date information on hours and open sites, or the dining locations webpage.
Kohn says the popular special events associated with Campus Dining are “kind of our thing.” But because large group gatherings are not permitted, none are scheduled at this point.
“We are working on some ideas for themed meals,” Kohl says. “Stay tuned.”
The fall dining schedule begins Saturday, Aug. 22, with the arrival of international students, then continues Monday, Aug. 24, with the arrival of the remainder of students.