The Detroit Zen Center and its non-profit business arm Living Zen Organics temporarily suspended operations on Wednesday, March 11, in response to the growing novel coronavirus outbreak.
In an email sent to students and community members, the Zen Center’s leadership announced that it would be closing for the remainder of March as a “a pre-emptive measure, to do our part in protecting & preventing community outbreak in our vulnerable neighborhood and Center.” Several events planned through April 11 are also cancelled.
As part of the closure, the Zen Center is suspending food service and business at Living Zen Organics, a retail arm of the organization that supplies items like kale salad and kale chips to numerous grocery stores and cafes throughout metro Detroit. “The financial hardship caused by this decision — to both the Zen Center, its food business and staff — will be deep. But it’s the right decision for us regardless.”
In the email, leadership addressed concerns over the U.S.’s handling of the public health concerns and “serious miscalculations” in cities such as Boston and Seattle. “Hopefully by the end of the month appropriate State & Federal agencies will be testing adequately, & will be able to help guide our decisions as a religious & food service organization.”
The news comes as Detroit area restaurants and entertainment venues adjusted operations and braced for the potential impact of the virus on the local economy. The City of Detroit announced this week that it would temporarily halt water shutoffs, because of the role handwashing plays in fighting the spread of the virus. Earlier on Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the worldwide outbreak a pandemic. Michigan identified its first cases of the new coronavirus on March 10 and the governor declared a state of emergency.