The coronavirus pandemic has forced many local businesses to close, due to the social distancing guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Philz Coffee, a coffee shop popular among Gunn students with two locations in Palo Alto has made adjustments to meet social distancing guidelines.
“It’s been changing gradually. But right now, we are at the point where the customers don’t go inside at all,” barista David Virin said. Instead, customers wait outside and receive their drinks from a table at the door. Workers and customers are separated by a screen.
Customers are encouraged to keep their distance from each other while waiting for their drinks. Markers have also been put on the sidewalk so people can distance themselves. “The people in line have to be at least six feet away from each other,” he said. “If there is a big group of people gathering outside we’ll try to tell them not to do it, or go home.”
Philz has also stopped all in person ordering. Customers must preorder their drinks on the Philz mobile app. “It’s only going to be mobile for at least a few months, but maybe in July or August [in person ordering will be available]” Virin said. “It depends on what the government says.”
Precautions have been taken to keep workers safe. “Everyone is wearing gloves and masks inside the building. We also sanitize everything and wipe down the tables,” he said.
The new restrictions have posed some challenges. Wearing face masks is not comfortable,” Virin said. “Talking to customers who are also wearing a face mask is kind of hard. If they’re wearing a face mask too, you can’t hear each other.”
While the pandemic hasn’t impacted Virin financially, some of his coworkers have been affected due to smaller staffs. “Some people aren’t working anymore and they can only apply for unemployment,” he said.
Philz has been open for over a month and has gradually started to extend their hours. Currently, they are open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It’s definitely been harder [to generate business] because for a while a lot of people didn’t even know we were open,” Virin said. “But it’s been getting better because people are finding out that we are actually open.”