AMS assessing future operations of services following early closures

Society developing app for remote food and beverage orders, Tricolour Outlet expanding merchandise available online

The AMS is currently developing an online ordering app to move its food and beverage services online.  
Journal File Photo

Having ended operations early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AMS services are facing uncertainty and reduced revenue as they plan for the 2020-21 school year. 

After the University decided to close its physical learning spaces on March 14, the AMS suspended all of its services on the same day with the exception of the AMS Food Bank, which closed on March 20. 

Now, the AMS is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking direction from the provincial government and the University to determine how and when it can conduct future operations.

“In light of [COVID-19], we are quickly learning and proactively preparing to operate in new ways,” Alexandra Samoyloff, AMS vice-president (Operations), wrote in a statement to The Journal. “During this time, we are continually assessing everything we do to lay a strong foundation of operation for the future of each service.”

As done each year, AMS services will develop its operational strategies and budgets over the summer. Samoyloff said the Society is re-evaluating how employees can deliver effective customer service under COVID-19 circumstances while maintaining safe procedures in the event of reopening. 

“We recognize, once we reopen, our day to day practices and customer experience will be altered,” Samoyloff added. “However, we are committed to offering the same, well-loved, Queen’s customer experience.” 

Although the AMS services lost revenue due to early closures that prevented customer interactions, the AMS has a “strong financial position” going into the 2020-21 year, according to Samoyloff.

“Each year has [its] ups and downs, but there are careful and diligent procedures set in place by the AMS to prepare accordingly for best and worst-case scenarios,” she wrote. 

The AMS has not set a date for when services will reopen as it waits for direction from the provincial government to ensure the safety of its employees and customers.

“We hope to open soon, but we do not have all of the information to make a decision at this time,” Samoyloff wrote. “We intend to reopen once it is safe to do so."

During the summer, the AMS is looking at ways to provide online services to its customers. 

The Society is currently developing an online ordering app to move its food and beverage services online, as these services are considered essential under Ontario’s Emergency Act. Users will be able to pay remotely through the app and order food for pick-up only.

The Tricolour Outlet, the AMS retail service located in the JDUC, opened an online store in 2019 with a small selection of goods available for purchase. Through the summer, the AMS intends to expand the amount of merchandise available on the website.

“As restrictions ease and new information becomes available, we will reassess our operational procedures,” Samoyloff wrote. “During this process, we will take our time to slowly open each AMS service and critically consider all possible options. Our main priority at this time is the health and safety of our teams.”

Successful applicants for 2020-21 AMS service staff positions have been given conditional offers of employment which stipulate that employment depends on COVID-19 developments, public health guidelines, demand for the service in the fall, and the service’s operational capacity.

“We are paying close attention to how the crisis unfolds and believe it is possible to reshape and re-evaluate the functions and operations of our services to establish a new normal,” Samoyloff wrote. 

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