Today we opened the Red & Black Cafe to do our part helping feed students as they were leaving campus. While we are not the primary campus dining service provider, we have always felt committed to serving the Wesleyan community no matter the circumstances. Snow storms, power outages etc. We have always been there as long as we believed we could do so without endangering our staff or customers.
Today was a challenge. We began the day short staffed trying to prep both the dining area to accommodate a takeout only setup as well as our menu. When we opened our registers, we found the Blackboard system down making it difficult to ascertain if students still had funds or not. We assured our customers that everyone would be fed regardless of ability to pay. Later as more people came in, we quickly moved to a text order only system to create more social distancing as the increased number of waiting customers began to create anxiety amongst both staff and customers.
By mid afternoon we learned of the all campus email encouraging students to leave ASAP and/or not attempt returning to campus at this time. In addition several of our suppliers informed us of problems they were facing.
As we have said, staying open to feed our student customers has always been a priority. Unfortunately the conditions, the safety of our staff and the reality of what we are capable of, have made us come to the conclusion that we must for the time being close both locations.
As we have previously announced, all of our non student full and part time employees will continue to be paid their regular wages up to 40 hours/week until our regularly scheduled summer break.
We have not made the decision to permanently close for the semester. We will continue to maintain both locations. This will allow us to quickly reopen and provide service if needed. We are waiting to see how many students will remain on campus and what the guidance from government officials will be in the coming weeks.
Please follow us on our various social media platforms as well as our website for updates.
We appreciate everything this community has done for us. We are so lucky to be part of the Wesleyan family. We are heartbroken to make this decision but know it is the right thing to do.
-Karen & Ed