As the University of Michigan prepares for a return of students to campus this fall, the Michigan Union, Pierpont Commons and the Michigan League are also preparing to welcome students back.

The Michigan Union and Pierpont Commons will open for limited hours starting Aug. 10. The Michigan League will open Aug. 17. All unions will implement MCard access protocols for anyone with a valid MCard.

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All three university unions will reopen to offer study spaces — as well as food and retail options — with university physical distancing and face covering requirements in place.

While the mission of University Unions is focused on community building, the spaces will look different this fall and new policies have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“It will take our Michigan community committing to wearing face coverings, physical distancing and good hand-hygiene to ensure the Unions are available for use,” said Susan Pile, senior director for University Unions and Auxiliary Services. “The Unions are places where the community cares for each other, so it will be important to demonstrate that sense of care by following these public health-informed practices.”

The Unions are increasing cleaning protocols to meet U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, such as frequent cleaning of high touch areas, using electrostatic sprayers, and increased hand sanitizer stations.

Study areas, lounges and food courts will have greatly reduced capacities, with chairs distanced from each other.

University health and safety guidelines require all students, staff, faculty and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose while anywhere on campus grounds. All food vendors will reopen by the start of classes, and users are encouraged to use mobile ordering by downloading the vendor app, and pick-up to avoid lines.

The food partners reopening within the Michigan Union are Panera Bread, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, MI Burger, Mama DeLuca’s, Blue Market, Panda Express and Subway.

Retail partners include Barnes & Noble, the U-M Credit Union, the U-M Tech Shop (formerly Computer Showcase), PNC ATM, and the Michigan Union Ticket Office. Taco Bell, which originally planned to join the Union lineup, has decided to not be among the food partners.

Pierpont Commons will offer Ahmo’s Gyros & Deli, Blue Market (with Pizza Pi), Fireside Cafe and Fireside Roast, Hibachi San, Mujo Cafe and Panda Express.

When the Michigan League reopens, visitors can enjoy Maizie’s Kitchen and Market as well as Peet’s coffee.

Visitors can expect a different queuing system in all locations, with floor decals indicating physical distancing, and self-service beverage stations will be unavailable. 

University departments and services with offices in the Unions have been operating virtually since March, and will continue to support students virtually and with some in-person support as public health guidance allows.

— Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that food vendors will reopen by the start of classes.