JGH food court dishes out meals and good humour, along with social distancing

Members of the Food Services team on the job at the JGH cafeteria. Left to right: Andre Antoine, Frederick Maheu, Jimmy Papachristos, Anastasios Macropoulos, Wesley Eastmond, Vidal Gabizon, Boris Slavev, Cam Le Vu, Katia Boileau, Anna Dimitrakopoulos
Members of the Food Services team on the job at the JGH cafeteria. Left to right: Andre Antoine, Frederick Maheu, Jimmy Papachristos, Anastasios Macropoulos, Wesley Eastmond, Vidal Gabizon, Boris Slavev, Cam Le Vu, Katia Boileau, Anna Dimitrakopoulos

Visitors will notice some changes at the Jewish General Hospital’s food court these days. But the basic ingredients of the cafeteria’s popularity remain unchanged.

To respect public-health guidelines under COVID-19, the space between tables in Carrefour Lea Polansky has been increased, and the number of seating spaces reduced. The outdoor patio is open with a small number of tables for those wanting to eat al fresco.

Cashiers are working behind plexiglass and accepting debit or credit cards only. And the Grab and Go won’t be offering any grabbing for now: instead, users will get their coffees, sandwiches and snacks handed to them by staff.

Beyond these measures, however, staff are working hard to make sure the essentials don’t change. As they did throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, they continue to deliver friendly and familiar service for co-workers and other visitors to the food court.

“This is still our JGH family. Except for the masks and plexiglass, we’re the same people,” says Anna Dimitrakopoulos, Chief of Food Services at the JGH and for CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “I want our customers to feel our warmth and dedication, and I’d like to offer a homey environment, so staff feel we’re taking care of them—while we keep them safe.”

Visitors can rely on the presence of long-time employees like Andre Antoine, a Cashier, who has been dishing out food and good humour for 14 years. Mr. Antoine knows his customers well enough that he gets the correct number of creamers ready for their coffee before they’ve reached him in line.

“We’re trying to make sure people are comfortable,” Mr. Antoine says. “We all know there’s been a pandemic outside. When they’re coming to get their food, we want to put them at ease.”

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