With recent announcements allowing cafes to reopen to ten customers at a time, many business owners are waiting for further announcements so that they can ‘return to normal’.

For some, serving takeaway items from makeshift takeaway windows or via online ordering services has been a saving grace to combat the downturn in trade over the past few months. But while some venues wait for further announcements, others are looking for ways in which

Caity Reynolds is the Manager of Three Poplars Consulting, which oversees the operation of the ONA Coffee venues in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. She says that that return to normality is very much dependent on each venue and the safety measures they can put in place.

“We aren’t in a huge rush to reopen, despite the fact we can have 10 people in our venues,” she said.

“It’s important to take into account the fact that although we’re going from no dine-in customers at all, to only 10 at a time, people will be excited and will jump at the opportunity to be seated in cafe again.”

“We want to make sure that before we open our doors, that we have put appropriate measures in place to ensure that everyone is safe and happy.”

Part of these measures will be implementing new health and safety practices, which Caity says will enable some of the venues to reopen.

“At this stage, we’re going to stick will only doing takeaway trade for most of the shops and as we listen to further government advice, we’ll reassess as we go along.”

“We’re talking to all of our staff and customers as much as possible, and putting in new procedures and rules that will make sure everyone feels, and is safe.”

Part of these new measures will be introducing health and safety practices for the handling of takeaway items, which will enable these venues to start accepting reusable cups again.

“It’s small things that will make a difference,” says Caity. “We won’t be accepting unwashed cups, and will be making sure that everyone is regularly washing their hands when handling reusable cups.”

“If we’re able to have people in to use plates and cutlery and have our staff handle those, then we don’t see a reason why we can’t put in extra measures so that we can accept reusable cups.”

The venues under Three Poplars’ management are all participants in ONA Coffee’s #giveupthecup campaign, which was launched in February 2020 and aims to completely remove single use cups from both ONA’s wholesale distribution and venues.

Marketing Manager of ONA Coffee, Jordan Montgomery says that the last few months have been a setback to the campaign, but that the long term goal is still in their sights.

“If anything, we’re more committed to this than ever,” he said. “We’ve seen a reduction in the use of reusable cups over the last few months to almost zero, so you can imagine how many single use cups are now sitting in landfill.”

“There’s going to be some uncertainty in the coming months, and maybe there will be some people that will be slightly uncomfortable. However, at some point we will have to decide when to ‘switch back’ to more sustainable practices, and we want to show people that it is possible to do so in a safe and responsible way.”

The first ONA Coffee venue to reopen to dine-in trade will be The Cupping Room, which will open their doors on May 16 in Canberra’s city centre. The other venues, including Highroad, Coffee House and ONA Coffee Sydney are expected to reopen in the coming weeks.

ONA Coffee Sydney has also taken the opportunity of extra time and staff during COVID-19 to implement reusable swap cup programs. The team will now be offering HuskeeCup swap cups, alongside the GreenCaffeen swap cups.

“We understand that during the COVID-19 crisis there has been some hesitancy about reusable cups,” says Caity.

“However, we feel confident that we can reintroduce reusable cups in a way that is safe for both our staff and customers. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again, and giving them a better experience than ever.”