By Jennifer Grybowski, Contributing Writer
Westborough – After a discussion between the Board of Selectmen (BOS) and Board of Health (BOH) last week regarding concerns over the safe operation of the Dairy Queen (DQ), located at 18 Summer St., the BOS met with DQ Manager Margo Murphy at its meeting May 12.
In response to comments made at the meeting last week about the fairness of asking young girls to manage the crowd, as well as the capacity to do so, Murphy had nothing but praise for her staff.
“I want to thank the young women who are working at DQ right now and they are doing a great job,” Murphy said. “You’d be surprised how capable high schoolers and college students are especially at this time when people can be nastier.”
Murphy came to the meeting prepared with an in-depth presentation showing all of the steps she has been taking to ensure safety, including removing patio furniture, operating at windows 1 and 3 only to maintain distancing, employees changing gloves after each customer, face masks work by employees (which they began doing as it became mandated), duct tape with wording on the ground every six feet, a change in foot traffic flow, multiple no food consumption on premises signs, and signs notifying people one person only should stand in line and order for the rest of their party. In addition, the location is offering UberEats and GrubHub delivery, and the pick-up for those orders is at a side door, away from on-premises customers.
BOH member Dr. Nathan Walsh said the response the BOH has seen is that things were in line with what they were asking.
“We were quite pleased with what we saw,” he said. “It sounds like we are learning more from you on how to set this up and maybe other business can learn from this too.”
Health Inspector Erin Hightower said she has been dealing with Murphy from the day they opened.
“She has been very receptive of anything we’ve suggested overall I’m very impressed with all the steps they’ve taken,” she said.
The BOS all agreed Murphy was doing a great job.
“In looking at what you’ve done, I think it’s exemplary,” BOS Chair Ian Johnson said. “Everything you’ve done there is what’s been asked or was done prior to being asked or mandated you put in place and you’ve done all you can do.”
BOS Vice-Chair Shelby Marshall agreed.
“You guys are models of how to deal with this,” she said. “I think you have more than proven yourself. You’ve made it clear you guys know what you are doing and you’ve got a great team in place.”
BOS Member Leigh Emery, who initially brought up concerns last week after seeing people congregating near the property said she was not trying to criticize the management of the DQ, but that there were in fact people enjoying their ice creams in groups near the business.
Murphy reported that she is doing everything she can to get customers off the property after receiving their order, but once they onto sidewalks, she isn’t sure what else she can do.
“At what point does it become the consumer’s responsibility and not the business’s?” she asked.
Both the BOS and BOH agreed the only thing Murphy has control over is DQ property.
“When the business has things in place, it is incumbent on the customer to follow the guidelines and the rules and be respectful of that,” BOS Member Allen Edinberg said. “We as customers shouldn’t be putting the responsibility of the person behind the window to discipline us for not following the guidance.”
The two boards advised Murphy to reach out to them as necessary if she needed further assistance.