One major consequence of the pandemic on Kenyon’s campus has been the restriction of spaces for groups of students to socialize. Even our enjoyment of the few places that remain open for group activities can be overshadowed by our fear of contracting or spreading the virus.
Two of the public places still open to students are the Village Inn and Chilitos. Both of these restaurants serve an important role in our community; they are warm and welcoming places to spend time with our friends at the end of a long week. However, these local hotspots have been regularly packed with students, especially this past weekend (before the quiet period ended).
We at the Collegian are concerned about the actions of our peers. On the one hand, we are grateful to have places like these in Gambier where we can sit down, relax and have the much-needed opportunity to unwind with friends. On the other hand, we are in the middle of a pandemic on a campus that had to extend the initial quiet period by one week (not to mention, dozens of students are still quarantined). Student actions over the weekend were not in the spirit of that quiet period, nor would actions like these comply with post-quiet period guidelines. After all, at crowded gatherings like these, it only takes one person who is positive for COVID-19 to unwittingly infect a large portion of campus — from their peers to professors to Kenyon employees — through community spread.
We do not want places like the Village Inn or Chilitos to close, nor would we suggest that our peers not patronize these businesses. We do ask, however, that those who wish to do so remain cognizant of their health as well as the health of their fellow students, staff and faculty members. It might not be a good idea, for example, to enter the Village Inn when more than 30 people are already inside, drinking alcohol and eating late-night snacks. On nights like that, it might be best to go home and order a pizza, or simply stop at one of the two restaurants for takeout.
Restaurants and bars are highly conducive to virus spread. We want our favorite local eating hubs to stay open and to weather this pandemic. But we ask that students who want to frequent these places do so cautiously and compassionately.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Mae Hunt ’21 and Evey Weisblat ’21, managing editor Jackson Wald ‘22 and executive director Elizabeth Stanley ’21. You can contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.