The University of Michigan announced reopening plans for the Michigan Union, Pierpont Commons, the Michigan League and the Detroit Center in the coming weeks. While the status of courses are forthcoming after the University announced in late June plans to welcome students back to campus, the reopening plans for these spaces include enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, including the University-wide mask mandate. 

In a press release, the University announced the Union and Palmer Commons will open Monday, Aug. 10 while the League will open the following week on Aug. 17.

“All three university unions will reopen to offer study spaces — as well as food and retail options — with university physical distancing and face covering requirements in place,” the release reads.

While the mission of University Unions is focused on community building, the spaces will look different this fall and new policies have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Susan Pile, senior director of Michigan Union and Auxiliary Services, emphasized the importance of continuing to follow protocols put in place for safety. 

“It will take our Michigan community committing to wearing face coverings, physical distancing and good hand-hygiene to ensure the Unions are available for use,” Pile said. “The Unions are places where the community cares for each other, so it will be important to demonstrate that sense of care by following these public health-informed practices.” 

Many food and retail locations within the Union system plan to reopen; however, Taco Bell has decided not to open in the fall. 

“The food partners reopening within the Michigan Union are Panera Bread, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, MI Burger, Mama DeLuca’s, Blue Market, Panda Express and Subway,” the release read. “Retail partners include Barnes & Noble, the U-M Credit Union, the U-M Tech Shop (formerly Computer Showcase), PNC ATM, and the Michigan Union Ticket Office. Taco Bell, which originally planned to join the Union lineup, has decided to not be among the food partners.”

The release encouraged students to continue practicing social distancing when using these spaces through the use of mobile ordering and pick-up.

“All food vendors will reopen by the start of classes, and users are encouraged to use mobile ordering by downlaoding the vendor app, and pick-up to avoid lines,” the release read. 

The release stated that students and visitors can expect many physical distancing measures to be implemented including floor decals, limited self-service stations and reduced capacities in the Unions. The release also discussed the University’s efforts to meet CDC guidelines for cleaning. 

“The Unions are increasing cleaning protocols to meet U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendations, such as frequent cleaning of high touch areas, using electrostatic sprayers, and increased hand sanitizer stations,” the release read. 

The University Detroit Center, located in downtown Detroit, is planning to reopen on Monday for students to work and study off campus.

In a release Friday, the center announced its plans to reopen to individual University students, but not to large groups or members of the public.

“As students resume classes, we are happy to be a place where students can safely find a quiet place to study,” the website reads. “… At this time, the Detroit Center will only be open to students as study space. We will be unable to book events and Detroit Center Residents will not yet have access to the Detroit Center’s office space.” 

The center also announced new cleaning protocols for safety amid the pandemic in a press release. 

“Face masks/coverings will be required for everyone in the Detroit Center space and within the Orchestra Place building at all times,” the release read. “Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance as well as in the study space. If students feel sick they are asked to please stay home and cancel their reservation. Upon entering the Detroit Center, all students will be asked to complete a health screening. This can be completed in advance by visiting (the website) and showing a Detroit Center staff member the results upon entrance. Each desk and chair will be disinfected after use, and disinfectant wipes will be available to any students wishing to do any additional disinfection.” 

Summer News Editor Sarah Payne can be reached at

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