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A Heap of Aussie Cafes Are Temporarily Refusing Reusable Cups Due to COVID-19

In an effort to reduce transmissions and protect staff and customers.
By Libby Curran
March 16, 2020
By Libby Curran
March 16, 2020

In a bid to slow down the spread of COVID-19, the government has implemented a ban on non-essential mass gatherings of more than 500 people and then mandating that everyone arriving from overseas self-isolate for 14 days. On a more local level, cafes, bars and restaurants across the country are taking their own precautionary measures.

As well as encouraging customers and staff to stay home if they feel unwell, increasing cleaning of their venues and providing hand sanitisers, a slew of popular coffee pit-stops are temporarily refusing to accept reusable coffee cups .

Melbourne's Market Lane Coffee has revealed it's switching entirely to paper cups for all coffees served across all of its stores, saying "we want to do what we can to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19". It's also requesting customers use contactless card payment instead of cash, and has rolled out more stringent cross-contamination protocols in-store.

Other popular Melbourne cafes to implement similar changes include Mayday Coffee & Food in Richmond, Carlton-born coffee roastery Seven Seeds and Beaumaris' Saska Cafe.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Coffee has rolled out similar changes across both its Sydney and Melbourne stores, saying it wants to minimise transmission as well as to avoid contamination of its own equipment. Other Sydney venues that are taking a break from reusable cups include Mecca Coffee, Sonoma, The Carpenter, Surry Hills' Artificer, Sample Coffee and Cherry Moon.

Plenty of Brisbane spots are following suit, too, including the CBD's John Mills Himself, which is scrapping cash payments and pausing the use of both dine-in cups and reusable takeaway cups. "As a business where being environmentally best practice is a core value this is no easy decision," the team explained. "For now our community safety must come first." Other caffeine haunts like Pourboy and Coffee Anthology have also put a pause on reusable cups and are encouraging contactless payment instead of cash.

View this post on Instagram

Cafe COVID-19 strategy: To help delay transmission, the cafe is: - Only accepting card and digital payment - Pausing the acceptance of reusable cups - Pausing the use of dine-in cups/wares The safety of our community is our highest priority. We have therefore decided to make these changes in order to help manage the spread of COVID-19. We are very aware that the delay of transmission is vital in ensuring our health system can cope and we will act to assist with that. We have already increased hygiene awareness and practices for staff, providing sanitiser at the counter and increasing cleaning and sanitisation of the store. But we now believe bigger changes are necessary. As the situation is changing rapidly please know that we will continue to make whatever decision is required for community safety. We are optimistic that this will be a tough but temporary situation and look forward to your continued support during this time and into the future. Can we still dine in? You are welcome, and encouraged, to please continue to dine in with us if you are not exhibiting any symptoms. Please advise us if you are dining in and we will not apply a lid. What about my reusable cup discount? Bring the band from your cup, or the cup itself, and we will continue to apply a 20c discount. We are temporarily reducing the [bunker] cup discount to 20c to offset the increase in costs. How can I pay? Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Apple/Google/Samsung Pay, Diners Club, JCB, UnionPay and AliPay Will you be passing on the cost of card/digital payment? No. The menu price is the price. Why don’t we just let everyone catch it? Depending on your sources up to 15% of people require hospitalisation and 5% require intensive care. Slowing/stopping transmission is vital to ensure our health system can cope. What about the environmental impact? As a business where being environmentally best practice is a core value this is no easy decision. For now our community safety must come first. Please place your cups and lid in the dedicated bins for composting/recycling. How long will this last? As long as it is in the public interest. Thanks for your support! We can do this!

A post shared by John Mills Himself (@johnmillshimself) on Mar 15, 2020 at 12:13am PDT

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Top image: Kitti Gould

Published on March 16, 2020 by Libby Curran
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