Breaking news: Changes made to food services at CSUB due to COVID-19


Amy Pachla

A sign on the door of Runner Express informs customers that the use refillable cups are temporarily banned from campus foodservice locations. This and other changes to foodservice procedures were implemented on Friday, March 6in response to the increased outbreak risk associated with COVID-19.

Amy Pachla, Copy Chief

  On the doors of several CSU Bakersfield campus food-spots, new signs have been posted informing customers that until further notice, only single-use and disposable cups will be allowed. The temporary restriction is being placed on the use of refillable mugs at both the Starbucks on campus and at all Aramark operated facilities, including the Runner Café, Runner Express, and Walter’s. 

   Owen Smith, director of food services at CSUB for Aramark, says the refill restriction is one of several precautions being taken as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Other precautions are replacing tabletop salt and pepper shakers with single-serve packets of salt and pepper, and to instruct foodservice staff to wash their hands every 15 minutes regardless of task. 

  “Our concern is for the safety of the students here,” Smith said. 

  There have been minor reports of students being upset about not being able to use their travel mugs for refills, but Smith would rather inconvenience students than expose them to harm. “We’d rather err on the side of caution,” Smith said, adding, “once the threat is minimized, then we can reevaluate.” 

  The decision to alter procedures was made on Friday, March 6, when Starbucks decided to temporarily stop letting people bring their own mugs to be filled. Smith decided the Aramark outlets should follow suit. Campus foodservices are holding a meeting on Monday, March 9 to evaluate current and develop further anticontagion procedures. 

  The purpose of the new measures is to “get ahead of the game before anything happens,” Smith said. 

 President Lynette Zelenzy sent out an email to update CSUB students about COVID-19 which read, in part, “At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Kern County and there is no immediate threat to the campus community.” 

  Remedies to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading are available on the CDC website. Information is also available in The Runner’s previous article about coronavirus, available at