Coffee sans Sars-Cov2

Four characteristics that I value came to mind as this pandemic came to affect us here in British Columbia:

  1. Good Coffee (I know it isn’t a characteristic)
  2. Business Innovation/Adaptation
  3. Social Responsibility
  4. Local Support

Traveling around the province and world this year has made me appreciate the excellent coffee culture that has grown into Vancouver over the past number of years. As with many things, you don’t tend to appreciate them until you see life without them. In Massett, I quickly recognized how much of my routine revolved around both the coffee itself and the environment that a good caffe provides (also how poor I am at making coffee compared to professionals). This has recently become apparent again with the shutdown of many businesses around Vancouver. If you can believe it, they don’t seem to consider a proper espresso as ‘essential’.

However, what only a few shops appear to have realized thus far, is that they do not have to shut. They simply need to operate in a way that discourages the spread of Sars-Cov2:

  • Maintain 2m of distance from others
  • Wash your hands
  • Do not touch your face
  • If you have any questions or clarifications needed call 1-888-COVID19
A Public Service Announcement, DTES-style, on Covid19 in my hood

My point of this post is to say, that I think we can satisfy each of these four traits in a responsible way. We can be socially responsible, support our local independent shops and their innovations while not having to go without their professionally made beverages.

The first local shop I saw doing this was Revolver. A caffe that is regularly jammed to the rafters any time it is open. I thought I would wander by, just in case. To my delight they had hung a paper sign, pointing to the alley. In addition, some tape on the ground guided me to a smiling face through the bars.

Everyone in the alley had more than enough space to keep 2m apart and each time I’ve been there have been happy to observe it. In addition, the staff make a point of wiping the keypad with sanitizer before and after each customer (no cash allowed).

To me, they have done a very nice job, and benefited from their alley facing windows. They leveraged this to continue functioning, all while greatly reducing the risk of viral spread and honoring social expectations.

I believe this is the way forward in the medium term for all service based businesses in Vancouver. Find a way to innovate that will allow service to continue, the economy to at least run as much as is feasible while protecting our vulnerable community members. Others have created lists of shops and roasters doing deliveries and continuing to sell beans online, such as Vancouver Coffee Snob

Beans available for sale in the third alley window

I believe we can also help by supporting shops such as Revolver who are continuing to offer barista services and keeping these folks gainfully employed. In this interest, I hope to continue to update this post with a list of shops doing this, see below:

Support your local shops, enjoy good coffee, and do your part in flattening the curve on this damned virus at the same time.

  • Revolver Coffee — 325 Cambie Street (head down the alley)
  • JJ Bean — 188 West 1st Avenue, False Creek (see tape for distance-assisting in images below)
  • Buro Coffee – 356 Water Street
  • Trees Coffee – 450 Granville Street
  • Matchstick – 1328 Richards (front door table)
  • Propaganda Coffee – 203 East Pender Street (no furniture, customer limit)
  • The Garden – 868 East Hastings St (like most, limited hours)
  • Iktsu Arpok Coffeestand (window onto Carrall St)
  • Nelson the Seagull – 315 Carrall St
  • TBD
Matchstick – 1328 Richards. Table blocks front door sanitary spray within reach

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