WMU dining remains open, transitions to carry-out only

Contact: Joy Brown

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—As the novel coronavirus continues to affect lives, food remains an important consideration and health component. That’s why Western Michigan University Dining Services is continuing to offer nutritious, delicious and comforting fare for students.

Although the University has switched to distance learning for the time being, the campus, including student housing, remains open. During the past week, Dining Services ramped up its cleaning protocol, transitioned away from self-serve options and limited hours or closed some of its smaller venues.

On Monday morning, following Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement all restaurants and bars were to cease offering dine-in consumption, WMU immediately responded by quickly moving to provide only take-out meals indefinitely.

“Our dining centers are now grab-and-go locations,” says Dining Services Director Judy Gipper, R.D. Take-out options were made available when dining facilities reopened at 4 p.m. Monday following rigorous cleaning and disinfecting. Bistro3, Hoekje-Bigelow Dining Room and Valley Dining Center now offers carry-out cuisine. Choices included options from the published menu and additional static options.

Dining Services is ensuring those picking up to-go meals will maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others, in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“We are going to take care of our students,” Gipper says. “We are serving a very good variety of foods with some modification. We will still offer vegetarian options, vegan options. In addition to offering two entrée choices, we will still respond to students who have allergy concerns. So, we’ll still do those things, but no longer will we have any type of self-serve. Everything will be packaged for grab-and-go. We will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’ll continue our online sack-lunch carryout option.”

Dining Services is still honoring meal plans and accepting Dining Dollars, credit cards and cash.

Food supplies remain in abundance at WMU, Gipper says. “We have been checking with our vendors since the middle of last week about that very topic and that is not a concern. We are going to be offering sufficient portions and choices, and we feel very confident that the students will still find plenty to eat here.”

Dining Services also remains continuously informed about product availability and health-related dining matters, and stands at the ready to again rapidly pivot and adjust its operations for the safety of the campus community.

“I’d like to remind everybody that we are very much in tune with directives and recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to all be aware of the fact that this is a very fluid situation,” says Gipper. “We are very aware of recommendations. We are receiving very clear instructions from the University’s task force that is directing operations on our campus. We have close facilitation and information from the CDC. And we are also following all the guidelines of the governor’s directive.

Gipper also asked dining patrons continue to abide by healthcare and government best practices for COVID-19 response by frequently washing their hands, socially distancing from others, staying home when feeling ill and other measures meant to slow the rate at which the virus spreads.

Dining Services is frequently posting updates about its operation hours and services on its website.

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