Keep cups v COVID-19

Cafes across Perth have stopped using reusable cups and serving dine-ins to try to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Manager and barista at Perth’s Mo Espresso Paul Athienides decided to make the switch to disposable cups on Monday, following the government’s advice to step up hygiene measures.

Mr Athienides said he was glad most people were supportive and understanding of the change which is designed to prevent the transmission of germs.

However, he said some patrons were upset because they were passionate about using keep-cups to limit single use plastic.

“At any point when you’re telling someone they can’t do something, you’re going to create a divide,” he said.

Mr Athienides said he could understand people feeling this way, but said the keep cup ban was a case of sacrificing one thing for the sake of another, and was important to keep the community feeling safe.

He said the government-recommended hygiene practices were open to interpretation, and implementation could vary across establishments.

Baristas at Mo Espresso in Perth’s CBD serve coffee in disposable cups. Photo: Louise Miolin.

Manager of The Pink Van Lexie Goerling said she didn’t see the keep cup ban as necessary.

“The only time I started thinking about [the ban] was when people came to me and said no-one else was accepting keep cups, which was bizarre to me, because they’re still handling cash,” she said.

Lexie said as long as hospitality workers continued to practise good hygiene, then they could continue to serve coffee in reusable cups.

Manager of Perth’s Little Angel cafe John Shepherd said he would also continue serving coffee in reusable cups.

“We have considered [banning keep-cups], obviously there’s a lot of other cafes who have stopped, but for the time being we’re trying to keep things as normal as possible with everything else going on,” he said.

Some cafe owners, like Lexie and John, are opting to continue their service as usual, while implementing good hygiene. Photo: Louise Miolin.
John wants to keep his business feeling ‘normal’ amid coronavirus fears. Photo: Louise Miolin.

Associate Professor at Murdoch University Dr Phillip Nicholls said any measures taken against coronavirus were valid.

He said the virus is fragile, but can survive on surfaces like used coffee cups.

Audio: Dr Phillip Nicholls.

In a statement today KeepCup said they supported individual cafes not using their cups temporarily, and suggested patrons could support them in other low-waste ways, like buying coffee beans or vouchers.

“We’re all in this together. The power of community, and supporting each other, will pull us through,” it said.