One Plus, a boba tea cafe in Berkeley, is continuing to operate while COVID-19 cases continue to increase in California.
Owner and manager Yezi Sha said the cafe, which is located one block west of UC Berkeley, mostly targets campus students. The cafe also caters more to local customers with a taste for “quality food,” Sha said. One Plus also serves coffee and Chinese-style crepes.
“We have to,” Sha said about reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s not the right time, I know, but it reached a point where we had to.”
Sha added that the cafe closed in March due to the pandemic. Sha said she decided to reopen because it looks like the pandemic is going to last a long time, meaning it is important the cafe stays open in order to stay afloat.
According to Sha, One Plus has not had many customers because businesses around the cafe are closed and people are not willing to pay a premium for “really high-quality drinks” during the pandemic.
Sha added that One Plus has almost 10 vendors to ensure that every product is as fresh as possible. Sha thinks One Plus stands out from all the other boba cafes in Berkeley because One Plus only uses organic ingredients.
One Plus’ goal is to “grow education about what to eat, what to drink, what is real food. That is why we try to use organic,” Sha said. “We get organic food and cook it in house.”
In compliance with public health requirements, Sha said all the employees keep a 6-foot distance from customers while in the store, and patrons are allowed to dine outdoors. Employees also sanitize any surface a customer touches, including chairs, tables and handles after every contact, Sha added.
“Our hands really get damaged because the chemicals are pretty strong,” Sha said.
Sha noted that now she has to tell her employees to stay home if they do not feel well to ensure the safety of others.
When an employee does come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, Sha also tells them to stay home and get tested before returning to work.
“It’s really important to our family to continue to support and frequent local restaurants we went to before the pandemic,” said One Plus customer Josh Lee in an email. “I have never felt compromised or at risk in ordering or picking up food.”
Lee said One Plus has always been clean and inviting. The staff at One Plus are always accommodating to his personal preferences, Lee added.
Lee said he found out about One Plus when he and his family were getting dinner in Berkeley. Lee added that One Plus seemed inviting to patrons to eat their dinner outside while having a boba tea.
“I’m hoping OnePlus can get through these challenging times,” Lee said in the email.