Campus Update: What’s Open, What’s Not
Numerous restaurants, cafés and retailers on campus in University College Dublin (UCD) remain closed with no signs of reopening, since the University announced its closure due to COVID-19 on March 12th.
The majority of restaurants in UCD are still uncertain as to when they will reopen or what public health guidelines customers will have to follow on their premises.
Pi Restaurant in Science East, Pulse in the Health Sciences Building, and Nico’s in the Law Building are among many of the cafés on campus that have been closed due to the pandemic.
Blue Bird Café in Newman has recently opened for takeaway coffee and sandwiches, as has the Poolside Café in the new student centre.
The main restaurant in UCD, as well as the Subway and Chopped outlets beneath in the Gerard Manley Hopkins building, are still not operating. When asked about reopening, a UCD restaurant spokesperson said that “UCD have not advised us yet [about reopening], it will probably be when the students return to campus”.
The Campus Bookshop and Bicycle Shop are open for business, whilst the Belfield Post Office is not currently operating. Molloy’s Centra has remained open throughout the course of the pandemic.
The University Club, a private clubhouse exclusively for UCD staff, alumni, and other guests, recently announced their intentions to reopen on campus on August 4th. As a result of the pandemic, the Club states they will be “welcoming non-members and guests throughout the month of August”, and will be “strictly complying with the advice and instructions given by the HSE”.
The Students’ Union (SU) shops have also ceased trading since March 12th. When asked about reopening, an SU representative told The College Tribune that, “it is expected that UCDSU shops will reopen during the first week of September 2020, in advance of orientation week”.
SU Shops have generated no revenue since they ceased trading in March. Consequently, the SU Shop staff are currently receiving the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The Shop expects to suffer a decrease in revenue as there is the potential that student numbers on campus will decrease in Semester 1, saying – “The hope is that from Semester 2 onward, numbers attending campus may return to normal and the SU shops may begin to stabilise their revenue stream”.
When asked about the implementation of public health measures and restrictions in SU shops, the SU said: “Customers and staff in the SU shops will be expected to adhere to all safety guidelines which are in effect in September”.
UCD expects that the Autumn Trimester will begin with significant restrictions in place. Whilst no specific restrictions have been announced for students yet, UCD has stated they will aim to minimise physical mixing between students by introducing pods within programmes where students share significant portions of the timetable. Module offerings will be reduced to reduce mixing of students, elective-only modules will be delivered at distance wherever possible and an extension of the normal timetable hours (9am to 6pm), including Saturday teaching, may be required.
Currently, it is mandatory for all persons working on campus to sign in and out via the UCD online system every time they are present on site, as a means of contact tracing and risk management of COVID-19.
Whilst no specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been recommended for students attending the campus next semester, workers in UCD have been recommended the use of a face shield as a better alternative to masks. The use of gloves has not been considered appropriate by UCD for workers.
Nessa Collins – Reporter