Vanderbilt launches indoor dining pilot across campus dining halls

Starting Nov. 2, a select number of dining halls will provide seats for indoor dining.

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Hunter Long

Dining tent with fall tree in background, photographed on October 26, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Logan Cromeens, Deputy News Editor

Vanderbilt announced in its Nov. 2 Return to Campus Update that it launched an indoor dining pilot on Monday, Nov. 2. The pilot started in Sarratt Student Center, Rand and the Central Library Community Room.

Should the pilot succeed, the university will expand it to Commons Center by the end of the semester. 

The Sarratt and Rand pilot provides just over 100 seats across four locations: Local Java, Rand Hall patio, Rand Hall student lounge and the upper level of Rand Hall. 

Central Library will offer just over 20 seats in its Community Room. However, the announcement stated that eating and drinking are still not permitted in any other parts of the library.  

If the pilot expands to Commons, there will be an additional 50 seats added to indoor dining spaces. In total, the pilot aims to offer around 175 seats for indoor dining. 

In order to protect the Vanderbilt community, all furniture has been “strategically placed” to allow for eight feet of physical distancing, the announcement said. Additional signage has also been placed in the dining areas to indicate where indoor dining is allowed. Finally, use of these indoor dining spaces will be limited to 20 minutes. 

Similar to the outdoor dining tents around campus, diners will be provided with disinfecting wipes and are asked to wipe down their area before and after eating. Staff will also wipe down the areas consistently, and Public Health AmbassaDores will be present to enforce campus protocols. 

“As the weather turns colder, the success of these indoor dining pilots will help further inform future plans for campus dining options,” the announcement read in part. “Any changes to campus dining for the spring semester will be announced before the start of the semester on Jan. 25.”