The St. James Tearoom and the Coronavirus

To Our Dear Guests,

Here at The St. James Tearoom, we take your cleanliness and health very seriously. However, greater vigilance is needed today, particularly in the dining industry.

By the end of January, after studying the exponential spread of this virus, I became convinced that this was not just another flu, but a real health threat that would eventually spread across the globe.

I began speaking with our leadership staff in February about what steps we could take to ensure that of all places, The St. James Tearoom could drastically minimize exposure while still maximizing the health and well-being of our guests with our policies and procedures of cleanliness.

What is The St. James Tearoom Doing?
In an abundance of caution, we are reminding our employees of their initial training concerning cleanliness and health and incorporating additional information about the particulars of the Coronavirus. This training includes the prevention of spreading germs and illnesses by following proper food safety procedures that have been proven to slow or stop the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Standard Procedures

  • Employees washing hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Sanitizing surfaces daily.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are coughing or sneezing.
  • Ensuring that employees who are coughing do not come to work.
  • Coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, never one’s hands.
  • Employees using gloves, discarding them and changing them, and changing them again. (Did you know we use on average one full box of gloves per Kitchen employee, per day?! We use a LOT of gloves, but more importantly, we change them often.)

Did you know why soap works so well on the new coronavirus and, indeed, most viruses?
Because it is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. In other words, soap dissolves the fatty outside membrane, and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and “dies,” or rather, it becomes inactive, because viruses aren’t really alive. It’s really that simple.

But is this enough? We don’t think so.

Additional Procedures

  • We are also currently in the process of adding Glass Tabletops to every seating area table, simply because although antique wood is so beautiful, glass is easier to clean, and there are no cracks or crevices for a virus to catch in.
  • New Policy (Increased Frequency) – Wiping doorknobs, faucet handles, toilet seats, tabletops, and light switches with sanitizer EVERY SEATING!
  • We are also replacing our carpets with a shorter weave, which is better for durability and is easier to clean of any dust or particles. This, combined with the fact that we vacuum after EVERY SEATING, ensures that nothing sticks to the carpets or floors.
  • New RSVP Cancellation Policy – We understand that the current health situation could lead to unexpected cancellations, and we have decided to waive any cancellation fees or charges until further notice. Of course, since we are still 100% by reservation, we would appreciate you letting us know of any changes to your reservation 48 hours in advance.

We hope this puts you at ease regarding the cleanliness habits we are daily practicing here at The St. James Tearoom.

To us, cleanliness is and has always been a hallmark of excellence, a sign of trustworthiness in the products and services we provide. But even more than excellence, taking the time to clean even the littlest of details shows genuine care and concern for our guests’ health and well-being, whether there is a ‘named’ outside threat like CoVid19, or whether it is simply a normal spring flu season. So, in keeping and exceeding the traditions of excellence that made us a four-time Top Workplace for NM, we are being as vigilant as ever in practicing employee hygiene habits that will ensure that our Tearoom is one of the cleanest places you could possibly go outside of your own home.

Yours for Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,

Daniel C. Higbie and Mary A. Higbie