Contactless Food Option Offers Safer Alternative for UT Students
By Megan Fee
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – Students at The University of Texas at Austin have experienced crowded restaurants in West Campus for months throughout the pandemic, but a new food option offers a contactless alternative.
“Sometimes, the line [at one of my favorite restaurants] is backed all the way out to the door, and it’s not spaced out, and the people are pretty much on top of each other,” said Madison Nosek, a UT Senior and resident of Skyloft Austin.
However, Basil Street Cafe installed a new touchless pizza kiosk in the lobby of Skyloft Austin Apartments on West 23rd St. that helps students avoid contact with others when dining out.
“This is really one of the only true ways to have a contactless ordering experience,” said Deglin Kennealy, founder and CEO of Basil Street Cafe. “From the time that you order your pizza to the time it comes out, no one has touched that pizza.”
It is the California company’s second kiosk in Texas.
When the company designed the kiosk in 2016, its original vision was not to prevent the spread of disease but rather to address other student concerns, including safety, convenience and price.
“People are far more concerned nowadays about ‘how did this meal get to my table,’ who’s touched it, what has happened with it. That was something that two years ago, none of us would’ve ever thought about,” Kenealy said.
(Photo: Megan Fee)
UT Molecular Biosciences professor Jacquelin Dudley said COVID-19 does not spread through the food itself but through person-to-person contact.
“It’s better to get your food somewhere where you’re not in contact with lots of people,” Dudley said.
She advised students to avoid crowding in areas with little air circulation. She also said they should minimize the length of contact with other individuals and stick with people in their immediate contact group.
Earlier this week, Travis County moved from Stage 4 to Stage 3 for COVID-19 risk.
In Stage 3, the City of Austin recommends vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors and when traveling. Unvaccinated individuals are still encouraged to wear masks at all times, including during indoor and outdoor private gatherings.
(Graphic: City of Austin)
Dudley described masks and immunizations as “short-term pain for long-term gain.”
“It means protecting your friends, your family and your community. It’s a group effort,” she said.