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.
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
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.
The Red & Black Cafe is open with several changes.
Hours of operation Everyday 9am-5pm
There is no dining inside. We have sectioned off tables and chairs and ask that all orders be taken to go
We encourage everyone to take advantage of our text ordering 860-650-1214
Our self serve coffee has been removed and we will make all coffee orders including adding milk, cream etc
No refills in your own mug. All mug club refills will be in single use paper cups
If you are sick or feeling any symptoms we ask that you not come inside. We will provide alternative means to get you food. Text us your order and we’ll arrange for you to pick up in a more secure area.
We will not be able to accommodate stocking up on large quantities. While we have a decent supply of drinks, we will limit people buying more than 6 bottled drinks.
There will be no “burning your points” Typically at the end of the semester, we encourage people to use or lose their points, but not this week. We are focused on providing everyone their immediate dining needs and will not be selling extra items.
We will also not be accepting any points donations. We know many of you want to do what you can to help us and our staff during the next few months. As we have stated, we will be paying our non student staff at both Weswings and Red & Black regardless of whether we are open or not. We want to assure all of our customers and staff we are prepared to handle the next few months. We are making necessary moves to meet our immediate financial needs. Wesleyan is working to responsibly process refunds for room and board. While there have been occasions in the past for charitable points donations, what is needed now is a calm process. After the semester is over, we will be working with the administration to assess our needs. We will definitely be counting on our customers to help us when they return by dining with us as much as possible.
Please be patient with us, as this is a rapidly evolving situation. We will continue to keep everyone updated. We are committed to doing what we can to help the Wesleyan community (students faculty and staff) in a safe and responsible way.