Guidelines for eating on campus

Two employees at La Piazza cash registers.

In this guide, further details are provided on eating/drinking in various settings across McMaster locations.

Updated information [Dec. 3]: Best practices for eating/drinking in a shared workspace

Current provincial guidelines outline different requirements for patrons of restaurants compared to those eating in a workplace with co-workers. McMaster has both settings across its locations, as well as food courts, catering venues and concession stands. 

As a reminder, masks are required in all scenarios when eating and drinking is not occurring.  

Based on provincial guidance and campus safety measures outlined by McMaster’s Environmental & Occupational Health Support Services (EOHSS), students, faculty and staff members are asked to adhere to the following guidelines.  

In this guide: 


Requirements for eating/drinking on campus

*Updated on December 3, 2021

At a restaurant or campus eatery:

Community members may sit less than two (2) metres apart if they are patrons of a food/drink establishment that is following the vaccine certificate program requirements (i.e., checking proof of vaccination and identity, requiring masks unless patrons are at the table, etc.), even if the purpose of the meal is work-related. This includes restaurants, eateries and catering spaces temporarily designated as food establishments during events on campus.

In a shared workspace:

Individuals with offices or private workstations may close their doors to remove their masks and eat/drink but should re-mask as soon as possible.

Many faculty and staff members and student employees share open workspaces. These individuals may briefly remove their masks to eat/drink at their desks, following these guidelines:

  • You must be physically distant— at least two (2) metres apart from your peers/colleagues.
  • Individuals can briefly pull down their mask to take a sip of a beverage (i.e. water, coffee/tea, juice) at their desk.
  • Individuals should take turns or rotate eating a snack/meal so ideally all are masked and distanced except the person eating. If possible, designate a meeting room or space where individuals can go to eat.
  • If you are eating/drinking and someone is approaching you, please put your mask back on.

Please be considerate and rotate eating times to ensure everyone in your workspace is masked whenever possible.

In a meeting room or instructional space:

Eating is not permitted in meeting rooms or instructional spaces; however, individuals may bring a beverage (i.e. water, coffee/tea, juice) and pull their mask down to take an occasional sip.

In a lounge or kitchenette:

For any other space outside of the options above, individuals must be physically distant— at least two (2) metres apart. This includes lounges and kitchenettes.

Important tips for eating and drinking on campus: 

  • Wash or disinfect hands before/after eating or drinking
  • Clean tables, microwaves, and other commonly handled items before/after use
  • Dispose of garbage
  • Masks can be removed indoors only for eating or drinking

Guidelines for holiday parties and catered events

Given the additional oversight and rules in place at event spaces and restaurants, these venues are preferred over gatherings in private homes for any type of social gathering.   

McMaster community members are encouraged to plan any gatherings for the holiday season at either designated Hospitality catering spaces or restaurants (on/off campus). Gatherings at individual homes are not recommended for work social gatherings as there may not be adequate ventilation or full vaccination status within individual homes. Sharing food, such as potlucks, is also not recommended.   

The following rooms will be designated for catered events, with capacity limits based on a 50-60% occupancy and will accommodate staff-served buffets and sit-down meals only:   

Room  Capacity
CIBC Hall  Can be divided into three sections, with 45 people per section.  
JHE Boardroom  12 people 
96 Forsyth  12 people 
106 Forsyth  12 people 
132 Mayfair  30 people 
David Braley Health Sciences Centre, 2nd floor auditorium  100 people 
One James North, room 204/206  70 people 
Sherman Centre Mills, 1st floor 70 people
JHE 328 25
JHE A114 20
JHE 326B 25
JHE H324 30
ITB A113 40
ITB 201 30
ETB 223 30

*NOTE* More spaces will be added to this list as they come available.   

McMaster’s Catering Services will not deliver any food/beverage to locations other than those noted above. Customers cannot pickup catering orders (i.e., platters), however, they can pick up individually packaged grab n’ go style meals. For details on space bookings, please see the university policy here.  

  • If you have further questions about catered events, please contact 
  • If you have further questions about booking space, please contact

Guidelines for eating a packed lunch

Provincial guidelines require that masks must be worn in all indoor spaces on campus, which means lunch should not be eaten at a desk or in a teaching/learning setting. Employees should check with their supervisor regarding identified spaces to eat in your building. You may need to rotate lunch times to ensure physical distancing, where possible.   

Places to eat on campus include:  

  • Employee lounges / kitchenettes  
  • Additional spaces (such as unused classrooms) that open for students. See details here.  
  • McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC): After showing your green checkmark, you will receive a wristband to sit at available designated eating areas.  
  • Closed-door offices: Faculty and staff members with offices may eat at their desks.   

Please see the chart below for a handy summary of McMaster locations to eat and drink as well as safety requirements. Visit the Back to Mac website for ongoing update about the Winter 2022 term. 

Spaces to eat/drink on campus

A note on providing proof of vaccination:

  • Students, faculty and staff on campus can show proof within the MacCheck digital tool. 
  • Visitors on campus can show their QR code on the McMaster Safety app.   
Space  Requirements 
Restaurants on campus (Faculty Club, Phoenix, 1280) 

Eateries on campus (La Piazza/MUSC, Mary Keyes, Centro, Ron Joyce Centre café) 



  • Show proof of vaccination 
  • Provide proof of identity with government-issued ID 
  • Wear mask unless seated at a table 

Physical distancing is not required. 

Students, visitors and other members of the campus community can dine in at Hospitality Services locations with proof of vaccination. Please see the Hospitality website for all locations.  


Designated Hospitality catered locations on campus    

  • Show proof of vaccination (MacCheck) upon entry. 
  • Wear mask and physically distance unless seated to eat. 


Break or lunchrooms 
  • Physical distancing or separation by a barrier required when removing your mask for the purposes of eating or drinking. 
  • No monitoring of vaccination proof. 
  • Individuals are required to follow all McMaster guidelines related to the Vaccination Policy. 
  • Highly visible signage is required. 
Meeting rooms / work locations on or off campus 
  • Physical distancing or separation by a barrier required when removing your mask for the purposes of eating or drinking. 
  • No monitoring of vaccination proof. 
  • Individuals are required to follow all McMaster guidelines related to the Vaccination Policy. 
Athletics and Recreation concessions    

  • Show proof of vaccination upon entry for sporting event. 
  • Wear mask except when actively eating/drinking. 

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