As the University of Michigan prepares to welcome more faculty and staff back to campus, it is expanding options for outdoor meeting spaces by offering a reservation option for the four canopies erected in various locations.

Starting June 1, the canopies can be reserved from 8-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for use by departmental units and student organizations looking to conduct university business outdoors.

They will continue to be available for drop-in individual use by students and campus community members from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

“As more people return to campus it is important that they feel safe. Meeting outdoors is a good option for departments that want to bring their staff and faculty back for in-person meetings but aren’t quite ready to move inside a building,” said Elaine Hanke, director of conference and event services.

The canopies, first erected last fall, are designed to give students and other university community members a place to study, eat and relax while keeping building densities low amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Each canopy contains tables and chairs that are spaced out to maintain social distancing. Wi-Fi is accessible in all the canopies, and cleaning supplies and sanitizer are available for visitors to use, and campus staff will clean the canopies regularly.

The four canopies available for reservation and drop-in use include two in front of the Michigan Union and North Ingalls Mall on Central Campus, and Gerstacker Grove on North Campus.

Units interested in reserving a canopy must submit a request through a Google form a minimum of seven days prior to and no more than 30 days in advance of the desired date.

Canopy capacities differ by location. Capacity limits could be increased as public health guidelines are updated.

“Units and student organizations thinking about utilizing this option should identify a back-up location indoors or alternate plan in case of inclement weather,” Hanke said. “We are asking for a ‘weather call’ to be made 24 hours in advance.”

Food is permitted at the canopies, although alcohol and amplified sound are not. The plan for the canopies originated last year in the Provost’s Office.

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