Taking precautions may help people to dine out safely at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. After enduring long lockdowns and time apart from family and friends, many people cannot wait to return to normal. Part of that normalcy many crave includes enjoying food and drinks at restaurants and bars.
Is it Safe to Eat at a Restaurant?
Eating at restaurants may still carry some risk of contracting coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a recent study found adults testing positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the two weeks before their diagnoses as those who tested negative for the coronavirus. Using the following tips, however, people may help reduce their risk and dine out safely.
Checking the Crowd
Before going out to a restaurant, people may benefit by calling ahead to check on the size of the crowd. The more people at an establishment, the greater the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. If the restaurant already has a large crowd, people may consider choosing another place.
Following COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Choosing restaurants with safety measures in place and following the recommended safety protocols while in public may help people dine out safely during the pandemic. These measures and protocols may include requiring at least six feet between parties, disinfecting tables and chairs between customers, implementing occupancy limits, and requiring masks for customers and staff. Restaurants that do not enforce proper COVID-19 safety protocols can be held liable if customers or staff contract the virus.
If presented with the option, asking for a table outside may improve people’s safety while dining out. Outdoor dining areas may allow for additional spacing between tables. Additionally, the virus may dissipate into the air in outdoor areas as opposed to circulating around the dining room.
Bringing Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
Bringing wipes and hand sanitizer may help people disinfect their hands and tables, potentially reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19 while dining out. People may benefit from using wipes and hand sanitizer after handling the menu and before eating, as well as to clean their tables, chairs, and cutlery. Having wipes and hand sanitizer may also be helpful when taking an Uber to the restaurant.
Avoiding the Bathroom
While dining at restaurants during the pandemic, people should refrain from using the restrooms whenever possible. Small, enclosed spaces, even the cleanest of bathrooms may pose a significant risk of transmitting the coronavirus. If people must use the restroom at a restaurant, they should wear their masks, wipe down surfaces before touching them, and use hand sanitizer after returning to their tables.
Whether catching up with family and friends or just getting some much-needed time out of the house, people should refrain from hanging out for extended periods at restaurants during the pandemic. When dining out, people should aim to eat and enjoy their food quickly and safely. Staying longer may increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19, as well as affect the restaurant’s ability to turn tables.