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Eating Out During the Pandemic: What Has Changed and How to Cope

As various countries start lifting the stay-at-home restrictions gradually and with a few long months of being compelled to stay in the comforts of our homes to keep ourselves from acquiring the virus, it is only natural to feel ecstatic to again to dine out at your favorite restaurants.

Karen Cruz
Karen Cruz

As various countries start lifting the stay-at-home restrictions gradually and with a few long months of being compelled to stay in the comforts of our homes to keep ourselves from acquiring the virus, it is only natural to feel ecstatic to again to dine out at your favorite restaurants. But of course, since the pandemic has changed and affected almost every single way of living, it is the same with how the restaurants have been operating.

Restaurant staff wearing masks, enhanced and increased sanitation practices, lower customer capacity, and many others: these are just some of the things that you might observe upon entering the restaurant. All of which is to ensure the safety of each employee and customer from the spread of COVID-19. Yes, the virus still hasn’t died down and the possibilities of acquiring the virus are still there, so if you are planning to skip home cooking in favor of dining out in your preferred restaurant, keep these tips in mind.

Know the Restaurant’s Policies and Procedures on COVID-19

Before dining out, check the restaurant’s website or social media accounts regarding their protocols on COVID-19. Check if those policies work for you since it is understandable that each person has their own concern. If you do not find their policies comfortable, you can try calling them and ask if they are adjustments that they can make for your concerns. If none, then, it might not be a good idea to dine at that restaurant for now.

Make a Reservation

While walk-ins are allowed, it might be safer to call and make a reservation. This way the restaurant can keep track of their numbers and you can also limit your exposure to other people when you line for your order.

Wear Your Mask

One of the basic ways to keep yourself protected from the virus when you travel outside your homes is by wearing a face mask. This can protect you in areas or spaces where it might seem to be impossible to practice social distancing. Although restaurants nowadays adhere to lower customer capacity, it is still important to wear your mask to protect yourself and as a courtesy to the people others. Keep your mask on at all times except while you eat your meal.

Keep Your Hands Sanitizer and Wipes Handy

While some restaurants might place alcohol dispensers and sanitizers in different areas of the restaurant, it is important to bring your own although it may not be required. This is to keep your hands sanitized after touching some items or areas in the restaurant. This is not just for your safety but as a courtesy to the servers and other customers.

Temperature Check Is a “New Normal”

Most of the restaurants do a temperature check before letting any diner in since fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. By this, they can regulate those who are allowed and not allowed to dine in the restaurant for the safety of the employees and other customers as well.

Keep Your Crowd Small

Since restaurants are advised to adhere to lower customer capacity, ensure not to bring lots of people with when you eat. You might also find it uncomfortable because not all seats can be occupied and you might not share the table with them.

Avoid the Peak Time

You must also be aware of the restaurant’s peak time to keep you from having a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Go For Outdoor Dining

It might be better to choose a restaurant with outdoor seats because of natural ventilation. The air outside doesn’t recirculate unlike indoors and the viral particles can move away more quickly.

Choose the “Cashless” Mode of Payment

Although food establishments still accept payments in cash, it might be a better idea to switch to the touchless pay option when available. This is to lessen the physical contact and to limit the exchange of germs. Wipe your credit card down before handing it over and always bring a pen with you for signing the bill and other receipts, and sanitize it after.

Be Patient

You cannot expect the same dining experience you had before the pandemic. The service can take longer than usual as the restaurants adhere to the requirements and strict guidelines set to keep their customers and employees safe from the virus. The best thing to do is to be patient and to be cooperative during this situation.

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