Chartwells says no to customers using reusable cups at campus store fronts due to COVID-19

Theresa Kliem, a student at the University of Regina drinks coffee from her reusable mug outside The Grind. Photo by Dawson Thompson

By temporarily not allowing customers to use reusable cups at on-campus coffee shops, the University of Regina is trying to prevent a possible future outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has prompted multiple coffee shop franchises around Canada – including Starbucks and Tim Hortons – to take this action as well.

Cindy Gates, supervisor at The Grind, a franchise of Chartwells at the U of R said, ”both here, and at the Tim Hortons because we are both franchises under Chartwells, they are saying at least for the time being that we won’t be using any of the reusable cups.”

Chartwells is a catering franchise that brings different restaurants to University campuses for students to “dine on campus.”

“We’re touching money, we’re touching all kinds of things,” said Gates. “Now at every location we have a hand washing station, so we can be regularly washing our hands, so we don’t have to leave the location.

“You never know what somebody else may have touched, or may have come in contact with, so to try to stop some of that before the coronavirus actually gets here, they are putting some of those safeguards in place.”

Chartwells has not yet released a date for when the temporary ban will be lifted, said Gates.

“We have not been given any sort of time frame,” she said. “They basically just said until we know more. Nothing has been confirmed here in Saskatchewan, but it is getting closer and closer.”

“Our office here in the university came down with these signs last week and said this is what we are going to be doing for the time being until things settle down, and get more under control.”

A sign outside The Grind in the Administration Building at the University of Regina. Photo by Dawson Thompson

Chartwells is prepared to take action for their employees if things continue to escalate.

“If in fact it does come here, if there are any confirmed cases on campus, to my knowledge they will shut it down,” said Gates. “Anyone who doesn’t need to be here will be sent home.”

At least one student at U of R is looking forward to things going back to normal.

Theresa Kliem, a student at University of Regina said, “She would not serve me any particular coffee.

“If I would want any special servings she cannot do that. If I just want a regular coffee I can use the self-serve canister which is neat but again, if I wanted something else other than regular coffee I would have to use a single use cup. When university gets really stressful (I get coffee) probably 4-5 times a week, always on campus.”

Theresa Kliem pours herself coffee from the self-serve canteen at The Grind at the University of Regina. Photo by Dawson Thompson

For students at the University of Regina who want to continue to get their daily cup of “Joe” in their reusable cups they can do so at Henderson Café in the Riddell Centre.

Henderson Café owner Harvey McEwen said, “With our coffee system that we have, the customer comes up and pours their own coffee.

“If they bring up their own mug it’s no different than them taking a coffee cup that we have here and pouring their own, so same difference if they’re pouring it into their own cup.”

According to the Government of Canada, as of March 8, 62 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Canada which puts the country at 25th on the world’s list.

Thirty-one cases have been confirmed in Ontario, while 27 have been confirmed in British Columbia.

Four cases of COVID-19 have been reported in each of Alberta and Quebec. So far, one has been confirmed in Alberta while three have been confirmed in Quebec.

No cases have been reported in Saskatchewan.

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