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Missing dining at your favorite restaurant? The temptation of treating yourself to a dinner in your favorite eatery could become too much. As businesses have begun to reopen, many are wondering if it is safe to eat out again.
One of the most important things to take into consideration, Dr. Berger says, is whether a restaurant is set up for safe social distancing and keeping the designated six-foot separation between tables.
Also, he says, “before sitting down and asking for a menu, check to confirm that the restaurant staff is wearing masks and that these masks cover their noses and mouths.”
Dr. Berger reminds those venturing to dine out that any number of objects found in a restaurant could potentially be contaminated with the virus–such as tablecloths, menus, salt shakers, credit card machines, chairs, and doorknobs—but it is only harmful if it then gets into the body. Scrupulous attention to basic hygiene (handwashing and sanitizing) before and after eating must be followed.
A restaurant is an easy places for the virus to spread as there are multiple contact points (cutlery, napkins, plates, glasses, etc), often an enclosed space with recirculated air, where you are also generally close to fellow diners and staff. Most importantly, you will need to take off your mask.
“Eating means having to take off your mask, and that’s the golden rule of avoiding coronavirus,” Dr. Berger told CNN. When combined with the other risk factors, the decision to dine out is not one you should make idly. “Think twice about going to a restaurant,” said Dr. Berger. And if you live in a big city, make it “three times.”
Thankfully, many businesses are providing takeaway services, where perhaps they did not before, so if you can still get the food you want without compromising your safety and that of others – consider that option. And if you are getting your food delivered, remember to be a little more generous with the tip if you can, as the staff and drivers are working hard to keep you fed and safe. Should you decide to go and dine out nevertheless, keep yourself and others healthy and safe.
Other ways you can check if a restaurant is working hard to keep the spread of the virus to a minimum are if they offer disposable menus and silverware, hand sanitizer for guests, contactless payment, and strictly adhere to limited seating.
Finally, Dr. Berger suggests it might be better to opt for a table outside if possible, or a spot that is “large, open, and ventilated.”
The local and state-wide lockdowns have forced us to stay at home and businesses to close their doors for what feels like forever. While takeaways have mostly stayed open, it is perfectly normal to miss the buzz of your favorite restaurant.
Even though it may have opened the doors again and taken measures to protect you and their staff, we must not forget the virus is still at large. The risk of contracting COVID remains, especially within the cities and built-up areas, so consider your acceptable levels of risk. The virus is particularly dangerous if you or anyone in your family or social group are immunocompromised.
You could also consider getting vaccinated against COVID for added protection for your health when you have to go out or if you decide to eat at a restaurant during the COVID pandemic.
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