Students cross the street in front of UGA's Bolton Dining Hall on the school's first day of class, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Campus was quieter than previous first days, as many students attended class online rather than in person. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

The University of Georgia has made several adjustments to the ways students can participate in a meal plan on campus, including a new block-based meal plan, Grubhub pickup, outside general seating and quick stop shops.

Meal plan customers must receive and eat food in accordance with social distancing guidelines, according to the UGA coronavirus website. Students can make reservations to dine inside the dining halls, order pickup through Grubhub or get to-go meals by walking through lines in the dining halls. To control crowds and improve efficiency at peak dining times, UGA has implemented updates to the original dining plan.

New dining hall hours

According to an email from UGA Dining Services, Snelling hours are Monday at 7 a.m. to Friday at 2:30 p.m., with the exception of 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. every day when it will close for cleaning and sanitation. Snelling’s Grubhub plan includes the option of a 10-inch pizza with a two liter or six pack of soda, available from 4 p.m. to midnight each night to provide students with more dining options and to support high-demand areas.

On Aug. 23, Bolton’s hours were extended to 10 p.m. every night. Bolton is now open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday, and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

Oglethorpe Dining Commons opened a day early on Aug. 19 for Grubhub and to-go orders. Oglethorpe opened on Aug. 20 for reservation in-house dining. Dining Services said in an email that the decision to open Oglethorpe was to alleviate long lines for Grubhub and to-go orders at Bolton.

Students with a meal plan can order food from a limited menu through the Grubhub app. A meal plan customer has to link the UGA campus through the Grubhub app and connect their student ID card in order to use the mobile order for pickup and to make dine-in reservations.

Dining Services suggested to participate in to-go or dine-in options. Eating to-go or dine-in is faster than Grubhub pickup and offers a wider selection of food items, Dining Services said in an email. Dining Services also suggested going to the dining halls outside of the peak times of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

New meal plan options

Dining Services is piloting a new block meal plan this year. This plan comes with 180 blocks per semester, and has the option of adding 300 Paw Points. The number of blocks equates to about two meals per day, according to the email. The blocks do not roll over to the next semester.

On Aug. 20, 50 Paw Points were added to every student with a meal plan, even if they did not have a meal plan that included Paw Points. Dining Services said in an email that this was to encourage meal plan customers to explore UGA’s retail dining options. When customers use Paw Points, Dining Services specified that these 50 points will be used before the Paw Points that the customer purchased.

On the go stops

Two “quick stop” mobile meal plan locations were added on Monday. These quick stop locations include a variety of pre-made sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts, drinks and other food items. The quick stops were implemented to provide additional locations for students to pick up food, according to an email.

The quick stop location at the bus stop at the West Campus Parking Deck is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The location at D.W. Brooks Drive is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These locations will accept all-access and block meal plans only, according to an email. Paw Points, Bulldog Bucks and credit or debit cards will not be accepted.

Seating, trash and contactless drinks

General seating options on campus include the Grand Hall on the fifth floor of the Tate Student Center, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the end of the semester.

There is general seating available in the North Atrium at Stegeman Coliseum Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. General outdoor seating areas have also been added in the Legion Pool parking lot outside Bolton and outside the Village Summit, according to the email.

Dining Services has placed additional trash cans and reusable container receptacles at the dining commons and new seating options. This comes after photos of overflowing trash receptacles circulated on social media.Dining Services continues to emphasize that these reusable containers should be returned in the correct receptacles so they can be washed and reused.

Dining Services began offering contact-free options to use the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in the dining halls. Meal plan customers can either use their phone to scan a QR code on the machine to control pouring the drink, or they can use complimentary stylus tools offered at the cashiers, which can also be used to open doors.