Eli Ridder, News Reporter
Precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak have impacted one of Canada’s most beloved national contests.
Tim Hortons on Saturday announced it removed all of the Roll Up the Rim paper cups “due to the current public health environment”.
“Tim Hortons does not believe it’s the right time for team members in our restaurants to collect rolled up tabs that have been in people’s mouths,” the coffee chain said in a press release.
The virus, known formally as COVID-19, broke out from the Wuhan province in China late last year.
Hours before the contest cups were pulled, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide passed 100,000 infections and the latest numbers state there are 77 infected patients in Canada.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland repeatedly told those gathered at the Ontario Liberal leadership convention this weekend to continue to wash their hands as some attendees avoided skin-to-skin contact.
Although the paper cups won’t be available, Tim Hortons had already planned to take the contest online this year. The annual “Roll Up the Rim” contest, which sees Canadians winning prizes as small as free doughnuts to as big as new vehicles, was making the switch to a more digital approach in an effort to be more eco-friendly.
The $30 million of prizes concealed in the now-to-be-recycled cup will be redistributed in restaurant giveaways and the digital contest.
The Canadian mainstay will kick off a four-week promotion on March 11. Until April 7, customers can “roll up the win” digitally by a phone app or online.
Using a reusable cup will get people three digital rolls throughout the whole promotion. Starting on the eve of the contest, the company will give away 1.8 million reusable hot beverage cups for free.
Those with Tim’s Rewards cards will have an advantage. In the last two weeks, cardholders can get chances but won’t know unless they’re registered with the app.
People have two weeks until after the promotion ends to register their card and play digital rolls.
Students were divided on whether Tim Hortons was making the right choice.
“In my opinion, Tim Hortons wanting to remove their Roll Up the Rim cups is a good idea because the coronavirus spread around Canada has been (sic) scary news,” said Rimsha Khaliq, a first-year business administration student.
“I don’t think any Tim’s worker would want to touch any of the rolled-up tabs by their customers,” Khaliq added.
“I stand by it because I wouldn’t do that either.”
Michel Johnson-Figueredo, a second-year public relations student at Lakeshore had a different take.
“I could see why Tim Hortons would choose to reduce exposure to their staff, but this seems minimal in the grandness of the foodservice industry,” Johnson-Figueredo said.
In its latest update on Friday, Humber College said it “continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the potential impact on our community.”
“All classes, campus operation and activities are continuing as scheduled.