We are getting ready for reopening both Swings and Red & Black for the fall semester (Sept. 4) and we want to let everyone know what is new and what is old.
Number one: Our entire staff is 100% vaxed. We were very aggressive last spring getting people shots and we will continue to require ALL employees be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Number two: We are still take out only. Red & Black will be taking orders in person or by text (Zingle). Wes Wings will have the same system as last year. Lots of outdoor seating and the return of the Patio Grill
Number three: In accordance with university policy, masks will be required when indoors.
We are hopeful that restrictions on indoor seating and masking will be temporary. We have lots of new specials at both locations and can’t wait to see everyone.
Today we hosted our second Moderna clinic for students, staff, family, and friends to get their second vaccine dose. 99% of our entire staff have now received both doses of Covid vaccines. As of tomorrow May 14th over 64% of our entire staff will be fully vaccinated two weeks past their second dose.
We are grateful to the Middletown Health Department and their volunteers who have helped us and so many residents of Middletown get their vaccine.
We are proud to announce that as of April 14, 2021 over 97% of our entire staff at both Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 32% have received second doses or a single JnJ dose.
We have been relentless as we have worked to get as many of our staff vaccinated as quickly as possible. With over seventy employees who are younger including over fifty students, it has been challenging.
Over the past two months, Karen and Ed waited day after day hoping for extra doses at Vine street and other locations, eventually getting them. We’ve driven staff to their appointments including 15 who we were able to get vaccinated off a waitlist March 28th at a local clinic.
All of our efforts culminated in a vaccination clinic that we hosted today with the Middletown Department of Health at Wes Wings. We were able to get almost all of our remaining staff their first shot. In addition, we provided shots for their family members, roommates and housemates. After reaching out to Wesleyan, we were also able to get 12 custodial employees their first shots as well. A total of 66 people received their first Moderna shot today.
Thank you. Everyone. It is impossible to list every person.
We have completed the fall semester during the most difficult conditions in our 30 years and can proudly say it was an overwhelming success. But it took everyone’s help. Students, Wesleyan staff and administrators, Covid testing staff, the weather and most importantly our staff at Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe.
When we abruptly closed last March there were so many uncertainties and how and when we might reopen was not clear. It took a tremendous amount of planning and hard work with our staff to create a system that was both safe and efficient while maintaining our menu and overall appeal that has made both of our restaurants so popular over the decades.
We told our customers the best way to help us come back from the financial hardship of last spring was to buy wings, mozzarella sticks, cookie dough, panini and smoothies. And you didn’t disappoint. You wore your masks and waited in long lines and your patience and cooperation contributed to this semester’s success. While shortened by several weeks, the fall semester was one of our most successful ever. October was the busiest month either location has ever experienced. And while we still have not fully recovered financially, we have made significant gains and both restaurants are on sound footing heading into the extended winter break.
The spring semester will look similar to the fall. We will still have our plexiglass. The doors will be open. The masks will be on. We’ll continue to kindly ask “if you have your food, could you please exit the waiting area so others can enter” The Patio Grill will return when the weather is warm enough. We look forward to expanding our specials and yes we are even thinking about Pail-A-Palooza and LobsterFest.
Please be safe during the winter break. We will enjoy a little break and time to rest and all of us will be ready to do it all again in February.
It’s official. We think. Finally. After a few last minute changes due to new guidance from the state of CT and the university, we are planning to re-open both WesWings and The Red & Black Cafe on Monday September 7th.
Monday September 7th is the first day most students will be out of quarantine and we’ll be ready to welcome everyone back. Like everything else, things will be a little different. As our earlier updates have mentioned, we will not have any indoor dining. Everything will be packaged to-go. Red & Black Cafe will have Zingle text ordering available and limited outdoor seating. At WesWings we’re adding more picnic tables outside and a new Patio Grill that will serve daily specials including burgers, vegan Beyond burgers and much more.
We are putting in place safety features including Plexiglas, contactless payments for meal plan IDs, separate entry and exits and more signage then we ever thought possible.
Both locations will accept meal plan points, Middletown cash and credit cards. There will be no cash accepted this year. In addition, we have made the decision to restrict our customers to the Wesleyan community ONLY. Specifically students, faculty and staff who are a part of the university’s Covid testing program. Eventually we may develop a curbside pickup plan for non university customers, but for now we’re trying to limit the number of outside visitors and customers.
In the coming weeks we’ll provide more updates to help you better understand our new systems. Where the lines are and the easiest ways to order.
Last spring we told you we were not going anywhere and we meant it. The past five months have been hard on our staff but everyone is eager to get back work. We still have a long way to go but we are determined to make this, our 30th year in business, a memorable year.
To all our customers, employees and the Wesleyan community, we want to let everyone know the latest on our restaurants, employees and plans for the next several months.
We have been closed since the beginning of spring break opening for only one day which we described in a previous post. We have decided, baring an emergency situation that would require our services, to remain closed for the rest of the spring semester. Under current conditions it does not make sense to reopen. Our staff will finish the shutdown process in our kitchens over the next few weeks.
We have been paying our non student full and part-time staff while we have been shutdown. However with the recent passage of the stimulus package, we will be making changes. The new law provides an additional $600/week of unemployment benefits on top of regular state benefits. After consulting with our staff, we believe that it will be more beneficial for them to receive these benefits than remaining on active payroll. While the new law goes into effect immediately, we will continue to pay our staff until April 4th to make sure they are financially secure until the new plan is implemented. We will continue to provide all employee benefit programs including medical, dental and retirement. This is a temporary shutdown and ALL employees are expected to return when we reopen in September. Our primary concern has and will remain the well being of our staff.
While the recent stimulus bill will help our staff and relieve us of some payroll expenses, our restaurants will still be under considerable financial stress. We have made several moves to insure that our employees are provided for and all our vendors are paid. We are counting on our customers to support us in the fall. We’ll need everyone of you buying wings, mozz sticks, penne vodka and pails.
We are incredibly sad that we will not have the many spring events that we all enjoy. Pail-a-Palooza, Lobsterfest and senior night dinner to name a few. We will do everything we can to make it up especially for the class of 2020.
One way you can support our efforts is to purchase a gift card. This will help us with our immediate financial needs to pay our staff and other expenses. It gives you the opportunity to get some great food when our restaurants reopen. We are thankful for everyone’s support during this difficult time. #GoWes