COLORADO SPRINGS — After 88 days of strictly serving sack lunches, Catholic Charities Marian House will reopen its dining rooms Monday.
“By virtue of this virus, we’ve had to change a lot. One of the positives pieces is that the meal service looks a little bit more like they would get if our clients would get if they were walking into any restaurant in town,” said Andy Barton, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.
Picnic-style tables have been replaced with round tables and guests will now be served their meals instead of serving themselves.
“I’ve come here before when they had the hot meals you know, I’m very grateful. I walk probably four miles a day just to come here for lunch,” said Willie Pilcher, a guest of the Marian House.
The Marian House will also put a 15 minute limit on meals, ensuring proper cleaning is done between each group of guests.
“It’ll be a fast meal and it is going to limit the number of folks over the course of a day who can come in for a seated meal. There’s just no way around that from a volume standpoint,” Barton said.
The number of guests will be cut to nearly a quarter, with 36 adults in the individual dining room and three families in the family dining room at a time.
Guests will also be asked to sign in with a photo ID, a procedure that will help El Paso County Public Health with contact tracing if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus.
“What we’ve seen throughout this entire crisis is that we are working alongside a population of individuals, who by virtue of homelessness or poverty, do not have the luxury sheltering in place, they don’t have a home to stay at home in,” Barton said.
“It’s just a warm meal, and it’s a place to go and it’s comfortable. They help you a lot. I’m 41 and I’ve been here my whole life and they help me a lot, a lot,” said Lisa Weidlich, a guest of the Marian House.