Coffee shops and tea houses are trending places on the University of Arizona campus where students can do homework, gather with classmates or just chill with friends. During COVID-19, these popular study spots were limited. So, what has changed since students returned to campus?
In 2020, when there were maximum seating capacities, many students found themselves flocking to different places to do online school and get out of the house.
In the heart of University Blvd., where most UA students walk and hang out, there are two hotspots that offer a space for students to do homework, have study sessions or just hang out between classes.
Maddy Miles, a UA sophomore studying psychology, made her favorite study spot her workplace. She joined the Scented Leaf family in September, which Miles describes as a break from the “prison” of dorm life during the pandemic.
Miles frequents Scented Leaf on her off hours to enjoy the hustle of the tea house. She explained that many students find it easier to focus surrounded by others and soft background noises.
“As a student I came here because it was a way for people in different classes to have a common ground,” said Miles.
During the 2020-2021 school year, Scented Leaf took on renovations to accommodate more inside seating. Megan Bono, a UA graduate and employee at Scented Leaf, said the place had become “busier than I thought it could have.”
According to Bono, prior to renovations all seats were filled and that hasn’t changed by adding over 56 spots for customers. She believes people want to return to the commotion of pre-pandemic life. Most customers who come alone bump into friends, making the space a hot spot.
Snakes and Lattes is a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, and game center all in one that opened in April when COVID-19 restrictions were lightened.
The shop represented a “reconnect due to the pandemic and a safe and trusting space to be around people again,” explained manager Christina Umfress.
Snakes and Lattes is a place that welcomes families and students to relax and study. Additionally, getting involved with the UA benefited Snakes and Lattes because clubs have begun to hold their meetings and have percentage nights.
Places like Scented Leaf and Snakes and Lattes have been grateful to hold up their business during the pandemic but many small businesses weren’t as fortunate. A survey by Goldman Sachs reported that 96% of small businesses felt the impact of COVID-19 and 51% could not survive more than 3 months.
The minimum capacity and customers’ comforts about going out were the main aspects that impacted these places, but since the reopening of the UA, students have been rolling in and out of different spots around campus.
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