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FAQ: Dining Services

Information for the University community

Updated February 18, 2021

Explore answers to common questions about COVID-19 safety precautions and procedures to ensure a safe dining experience for faculty, staff, and students.

Dining and safety precautions

Most dining centers will open. The following centers will be closed for the semester:

River Campus

  • Optikale (closed spring 2021)
  • Faculty Club (closed spring 2021)
  • All four fraternity kitchens (closed for the 2020–21 academic year)

Eastman School of Music

  • The Cave (closed spring 2021)

Students living and/or taking classes on the University’s River Campus or Eastman School of Music can again expect reduced occupancies at campus dining locations, but additional spaces are available to accommodate students’ busy schedules and dining plans.

Updated 2/18 The campus Dining Centers will be limited to no more than four students at a table and all tables will be 6 feet apart. Several additional multipurpose campus spaces have been established to accommodate students who need to eat a meal or snack on campus. All tables in these multipurpose spaces will be 6 feet apart and have occupancy and cleaning guidelines. The locations are:

  • Feldman Ballroom in Douglass Commons
  • The Pit, Hirst Lounge, and Starbucks Lounge in Wilson Commons
  • Orchestra Pit and Betty’s Cafe on the ESM campus
  • Hawkins Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library
  • Eisenberg Rotunda in Schlegel Hall.

Residence Hall lounges will also again be available to students to eat in, with the maximum number of students in a lounge at one time being posted. Additionally, shared kitchens on River Campus residence hall floors will be partially reopened with access to microwaves and sinks. Students will have to follow posted guidelines to use the kitchen facilities, with only one person using the kitchen at a time.

For more information about the opening of Dining Services campus operations, please check the Dining Services website.

Eating in indoor campus spaces requires students to wear a mask up to the point of starting to eat a meal and to immediately putting it back on after the meal is done. It also requires that students adhere to the social distancing rules in place and not move chairs or furniture closer together.

All Dining Services employees will go through mandatory University and dining-services-specific training. Health checks will also be completed at the beginning of all shifts and face masks will be worn by employees at all times. Dining Services will remove all self-service options and will use disposables for utensils, plates, and trays.

Full sanitizing and disinfecting of food contact surface areas, serving areas, cooler door handles, and point-of-service areas will be sanitized with Oxivir Tb wipes, a hospital-grade disinfectant, at a minimum of every hour and before and after each service time.

Because for these facilities, it is not possible to maintain the physical distancing required by New York State or because the available staff must be deployed elsewhere.

Dining Services will continue to offer Kosher, Halal, and allergen-free options.

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