Photo courtesy Bayview: Bayview Director of Culinary Services Dan Galvin, staff and residents teamed up to put together a food court concept as a safe alternative to the communal dining model.
Photo courtesy Bayview: Bayview Director of Culinary Services Dan Galvin, staff and residents teamed up to put together a food court concept as a safe alternative to the communal dining model.

Bayview, a 62+ nonprofit Life Plan Community in Queen Anne, recently announced a new food court model that focuses on the reopening of their main dining space and expanding meal options — all while maintaining infection control, social distancing and the overall prevention of COVID-19.

At the start of the pandemic, Bayview and many senior living communities alike quickly shifted from  dining rooms to delivering meals to residents’ apartments. Dan Galvin, Bayview’s director of culinary services, embraced the long-haul reality that there was no clear end to the pandemic in sight, according to the press release.

“Our CEO, Nancy Weinbeck, challenged our community — both residents and staff — to brainstorm innovative and creative solutions for Bayview in the face of the COVID-19 crisis,” Galvin said in the press release. “I began to ask myself, how can we make use of our expansive dining space, elevate the variety of food offered, bring back some social element of engagement, all while making it safe as possible?”

A food court concept was an ideal solution. Galvin, armed with an extensive restaurant and hospitality background, teamed up with a multitude of staff and residents to bring this concept to fruition.

Bayview resident Bill Jordan, who is a retired architect, was key in developing floor plans that allowed for proper spatial strategies. Bayview resident Michael Mayer, an Emmy-nominated set designer, was key in developing the look and feel of the food court.

In addition to completing the food court with cost-saving solutions, resident and staff participation boosted morale and excitement throughout the community.

Called the “Terrace Garden Food Court,” the space includes three socially distanced ordering stations with glass partitions; a socially distanced waiting area; a new addition of a Marketplace offering grab and go items; crowd theater ropes; floor decals; large signage for easy navigation; separate aisles for employees and residents; socially distanced seating areas; and sanitation stations. Socially distanced ambassadors with bright vests will be working the floor to ensure proper infection control practices, community compliance and questions that may arise.

Plants and essential foliage and an awning over the marketplace are part of some food court schematics that bring outdoor elements, inside.

“One of the bright qualities of senior living communities across Washington and really across the nation is the way we are learning from each other,” Weinbeck said. “The pandemic is propelling innovation for us. We hope our story shines a much-needed positive light on the way senior communities are disrupting the status quo.”

Bayview has paused the launch of the food court due to the increasing surge of new COVID-19 cases within King County.

In the meantime, Bayview administrators hope to inspire communities to look to older adults as an untapped source of wisdom, knowledge and lifetime’s worth of experiences.

To learn more about Bayview, visit www.bayviewseattle.org/.