Eating Out During COVID-19
The restaurant dining experience that we once knew has been replaced with hand sanitizer pumps, disposable menus, masks for customers and employees, and 6 foot spacing between tables. As restaurants and bars are re-opening in many states, some experts say there are issues that consumers must consider before deciding to dine out.
If you’ve been longing to get back to the activities from your pre-COVID-19 life, you must first consider the risks involved with each. For restaurants and bars, you should think about these questions: how much time will you spend in close proximity with others, whether you’re in an indoor space or in a more ventilated outdoor space, how crowded the space is and how crowded the space is with people you usually don’t come into contact with. It may be more reasonable to eat on an outdoor patio where the tables are spread out at least 6 feet apart. Keep in mind, if you live in an area where COVID-19 is on the rise, staying home is probably your safest option.
If you do decide to eat out, you should first determine if your favorite restaurant adheres to all local, state, and federal health guidelines. Once you arrive, before being seated, you should check if the staff is adhering to the rules of social distancing, if they are wearing masks, and if the restaurant is operating with limited customer capacity. You should also recognize the risk points in the restaurant, like points of contact between you and your server, frequently touched items like the tables, chairs, salt and pepper shakers, condiment bottles, and door knobs. It would be best to use hand sanitizer after coming into contact with each one of these surfaces so if the restaurant has any nearby, this would be a great time to use it! If you don’t already, this is the time to carry hand sanitizer with you so it will always be readily available when you need it. If you want to take extra precautions, you may also consider carrying a small packet of sanitizing wipes to ensure the surfaces you touch are as clean as possible.