The Tea Room closes for remainder of the year

EngSoc lays off staff and assistant managers as student-run café closes early

The Tea Room initially reopened Sept. 28.

After reopening in September, the Tea Room has shut its doors for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. 

Having initially suspended operations in March, the Tea Room reopened Sept. 28 with a take-out-only option. The café announced Nov. 9 that it would be closing its doors Nov. 13 due to the continued remote delivery of classes.

“The Engineering Society planned to operate as many of our services as possible to try and sustain our traditions and a sense of normalcy,” Spencer Lee, EngSoc president, wrote in a statement to The Journal. “We opened the Tea Room with take-away service only in hopes that the ILC would be operational in the winter semester.” 

“With the onset of winter conditions, this type of service delivery was not optimal.”

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Lee said the continued remote delivery of courses detracts from the “full Tea Room experience” and rendered the Tea Room’s operations “untenable.”

Following the closure of the service, all staff and assistant managers have had their positions terminated. However, Lee noted the Head Manager of the Tea Room will continue to be employed by the service.

While Lee didn’t explicitly comment on how employees who lost their jobs were compensated, he mentioned the process of closing the service “exceeded all regulations and obligations set out in the Employment Standards Act.”

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“The Tea Room will reopen as soon as it’s possible to continue our mandate of environmental stewardship and to welcome and serve our customers with our trademark warmth and hospitality,” Lee wrote. 

“I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to all of our staff that made that possible this semester and hope that they enjoy their winter break and stay safe.”

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