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Six out of twelve UU canteens will reopen after the summer

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From the start of the 2020/2021 academic year on, UUers can buy their lunch in the canteens once more. Because of the corona measures, only six out of twelve locations will reopen for now. These are spread throughout Utrecht University’s three campuses.

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In Utrecht Science Park, the doors of Madame Jeanette at Veterinary Medicine will reopen on August 31, as will the large restaurant in the Educatorium, the kiosk in the Koningsberger building, and Gutenberg, beneath the University library. In the city centre, Grand Café Lodewijk will open again. The UCU café on the International Campus, formerly known as Jazzmans, will open on August 17, when the UCU students return. Five other locations will not open until the 1.5-metre rule is lifted, says Merijn Smelt, department head of Contract and Supply Management of the Facilities Service Centre. The twelfth restaurant is located in Achter St. Pieter 200, which is currently being renovated.

Last week (July 9), the university officially said its goodbyes to Sodexo, which had run the various UU restaurants since September 2012. An odd farewell, because the canteens had already been closed since March 16, because of the coronavirus. Previously, seven locations had already closed their doors, because the nineteen locations together didn’t run enough revenue.

This summer, all restaurants will remain closed, and the new caterer Eurest, with its collaboration partner Spar University, will refurnish the six locations – adhering to the 1.5-metre rule, for now. Corona will also have an effect on the menu. Smelt expects the canteens will offer more pre-packaged goods.

The kiosk in the Koningsberger building will be transformed into a mini-location of Spar University. Madame Jeanette will also be furnished by the supermarket, but it remains unclear when the renovations will take place. Smelt says they depend on the construction plans of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Eurest will lead the other four locations, which will have a more traditional canteen character.

Meeting place
The university and Eurest have decided together to only open half of the lunch locations, as only 25 to 30 percent of all employees are able to work on location, and far fewer students are allowed to come to campus as a result of the various corona regulations. “These are very difficult and uncertain times for Eurest and Spar University, but as university we do want to open six locations, because – among other things – they’re important meeting places. We want to offer that possibility to our employees and students.”

When the canteens reopen on August31, employees will also be able to order drinks and lunch for meetings, for example, and many familiar faces will return to the Eurest locations.

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