The Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the ways in which businesses operate and how individuals go about their daily lives. Operation of coffee and food service establishments has been particularly affected by social distancing and work from home measures because these industries rely so heavily on foot traffic and social engagements. Cafes like Zest have faced serious restrictions in the space we can offer our customers, while simultaneously becoming essential points of social contact where you could safely and legally meet during an otherwise isolating period of months.
New organisational measures have been a saving grace for businesses. Without the addition of outdoor service, Zest would have been down to six or seven tables rather than the seventeen we are currently able to serve customers at. Not only would this have been financially unsustainable, but it would have further isolated the whole of the St Andrews community. Many of Zest’s frequent customers are local elders expressing the joys of having coffee out for the first time since lockdown has been lifted and students studying far from home, only seeing their peers through computer screens. But these changes have not only offered this reprieve from isolation and promoted community during uncertainty. The extension of outdoor space and their filled seats is also a testament to our community’s commitment to support local businesses and one another—donning bobble hats to keep their ears warm as they brave the Scottish winter out-of-doors.
Not only have these outdoor spaces proven the strength of our community, but they have also shown the commitment of businesses to keeping our community healthy and safe from Covid-19 outbreaks. These outdoor spaces allow further social distancing and ventilation measures that could not be achieved without them. The health and wellbeing of our customers is always a priority at Zest, and we hope to see the continuation of outdoor seating arrangements as the pandemic slowly loosens its grip on our daily lives.