Last updated: January 18, 2022

Eating indoors is permitted in all campus buildings in spaces where eating was permitted pre-pandemic. However, until further notice, food and/or drink may not be provided or consumed at MIT-sponsored events or meetings. This includes gatherings held on and off campus.

Grab-and-go style food options are still paused until further notice, recognizing that it is still winter in New England and many of us would or could not “go” very far indoors to eat alone with that to-go treat. A limited exception permits grab-and-go food in MIT Housing for house-sponsored events of 10 or fewer persons that are coordinated by house teams or house executive board members (e.g., a study break).

Below are some tips for eating and drinking on campus; we urge you to follow this advice when you’re dining off campus, too (both indoors and outdoors).

  • Observe the local rules: Different spaces have different rules about eating and drinking. For instance, “food and beverages are not permitted in MIT classroom spaces.” Research facilities, residential buildings, and other spaces on campus may have different rules, so check the posted policies for your specific space.
  • Keep it covered: Well-fitted face coverings remain required in all MIT buildings regardless of vaccination status. Masks may be briefly lowered indoors when actively consuming food (taking a bite) or taking a sip of a drink. Keep the time without a mask as short as possible.
  • Eat alone if you can: Look for a quiet spot where you can eat by yourself, and save your socializing for non-meal times when you can remain masked. Avoid eating on-the-go in crowded hallways and other public spaces where there tend to be lots of people. Even when you need to snack between classes or meetings indoors, be considerate of those who must work nearby or need to walk by you, and only lower your mask between bites and sips in such settings.
  • Stay small (group size), short (duration), and spaced-out (distance): When dining indoors with others at MIT, community members are encouraged to limit the time spent eating together to less than 20 minutes and to limit group size to 4 or fewer individuals, who are separated by 6 feet. This guidance reflects current data that transmission of the virus causing Covid-19 is more probable when unmasked people “hang out” during a meal. We end up eating, drinking, and chatting close together for an extended duration without a mask, and right now we are in a more cautious posture. Keep your indoor time without a mask as short as possible.
  • Make some extra elbow room: When spaces are used for active dining, capacity should be reduced to allow for greater physical distance between diners. DLCs can designate additional spaces for meal breaks and encourage staggered lunch or snack schedules.
  • Bundle up and enjoy the outdoors: MIT continues to encourage dining outdoors whenever possible, especially for unvaccinated individuals.

Additional resources

If you have questions about eating indoors, or any other Covid-related policies, please email covidapps-help@mit.edu.