Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

University announces changes in outdoor dining policy

By MOLLY GAHAGEN | October 26, 2021

FILE PHOTO Indoor eating and drinking restrictions at events will remain in place.

The University announced on Oct. 26 that food and drink will be permitted at outdoor events. Previously, only single-serving, grab-and-go options were permitted to mitigate risks of COVID-19 transmission. University administrators noted that this change came because of high COVID-19 vaccination rates on campus.

According to the email sent to University constituents, events with fewer than 50 people do not need to be approved by the University regardless of whether or not food is being served.

Pi Beta Phi’s Vice President of Risk Management Hannah Bruckheim was glad the policy changed, but wished the University provided more clarity and notice.

“I’m glad that they’ve updated some of the policies in relation to risk because of lowering community transmission, but they did a really poor job of communicating these changes to student groups and making it clear when and how they’re taking effect,” she said. 

In their email, Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Stephen Gange and Vice Provost Chief Risk Officer Jon Links noted that the change in policy expands the kinds of events allowed on campus. 

“Events at which food and drink is the primary purpose—such as picnics and cocktail receptions—are now allowed outside, subject to size restrictions,” they wrote. 

Junior Lyllian Le wrote in an email to The News-Letter that she is excited for the greater flexibility for events.

“As an executive board member of a couple of student organizations on campus, this change in food/drink policy at events will definitely open up more opportunities to bring the community together,” she wrote. “I’m excited for all the possible bonding events and activities that students will start planning, now that the university is taking more steps to figuring out how we can safely enjoy campus life.”

The University clarified that former restrictions still apply to indoor dining. Grab-and-go options from indoor events can be consumed either outdoors or in a socially distanced manner indoors. Momentary unmasking to consume food or drink  is permitted, but if one is not actively eating or drinking they must wear a mask.

Student Government Association Senator Raj Bhatt approves of the continuation of restrictions on indoor dining to mitigate risk.

“I like that the University is still mandating pre-packaged food and physical distancing, as I think this is the best way to protect the safety of JHU members in a large group setting,” he said.

The University also clarified its policy on business travel, allowing regular travel without the need for prior approval. However, approval is still required for Hopkins-sponsored travel involving student groups.

Editors Note: This article was updated October 29, 2021 at 3:40 p.m. with information that was not available at press time

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