New York City allowed its restaurants to resume indoor dining at 25% capacity on Sept. 30 for the first time since March. As a result of this development, St. John’s University reintroduced the indoor dining option at its biggest “restaurant” – Montgoris Dining Hall. However, according to Scott Lemperle, executive director of Auxiliary & Conference Services, “all other dining locations currently opened will continue to operate as they have for take-out service only for now.”
Lemperle told the Torch in an email that Montgoris Dining Hall will still offer a take-out option for those who do not wish to dine indoors or those who cannot dine indoors simply because seating is at full capacity.
To use the take-out option at Montgoris, students must use a meal exchange swipe, in which they receive a ticket that allows them to get a meal from one food station, one dessert and a drink; the meal exchange option does not allow students to choose food options from more than one station. Students who do not choose the meal exchange option are now given their food on a plate to dine indoors.
The tent adjacent to Montgoris for outdoor dining can now only be accessed from the inside of the dining hall, via the side doors that open onto the terrace.
Regardless of this change to the dining services now offered at St. John’s, all COVID-19 guidelines that have already been mandated will remain in place and, to further align with new NYC indoor dining guidelines, additional guidelines have been implemented.
There are now two contactless self-check temperature devices located at the entrance of the dining hall to adhere with NYC guidelines provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 9. Students will continue to scan their stormcard to enter the dining hall and will have their temperature taken with a contactless thermometer stationed on the wall that gives a verbal pass to students whose temperatures are under 100 degrees. An attendant is also stationed nearby to keep an eye on students as they enter.
“All patrons entering Montgoris Dining Hall will now be required to have their temperatures taken and have a temperature no greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit,” Lemperle said.
“Seating tables will be placed at least 6 feet apart and anyone not using a Stormcard to enter will need to provide contact information for potential tracing efforts,” Lemperle said.
In order to remain in accordance with New York City safety guidelines, tables inside the dining hall have been set up with one chair, with each table-chair pairing set six feet apart.
The tent set up for outdoor dining earlier in the semester on the basketball court next to Montgoris will also remain open for students until the end of October. The tent in the Residence Village quad officially closed as of Oct. 1, the tables and chairs removed from this tent the morning prior. Plans for the tent set up outside of the Law School are currently pending at this time, according to Lemperle.
The dining hours for all locations will remain the same according to Lemperle, however, Montgoris will revert to take out only after midnight in accordance with New York City indoor dining guidelines.
In order to continue to adhere to COVID-19 dining guidelines, the Red Storm Diner will remain closed until further notice.
“Given the volume, seating capacity restrictions and indoor dining service needing to close at midnight under the new NYC indoor dining guidelines there are no plans to open it at this time,” Lemperle explained.
“The extended hours at Montgoris until 1:00 a.m. and the late-night menu items from the diner now being served at Montgoris provide the best possible solution and an overall safer environment for that nighttime dining option.”
According to the St. John’s Dining twitter account, in adherence to the 25% capacity allowed in Montgoris Dining Hall, 65 persons will be permitted on the first floor and 62 persons will be permitted on the second floor.