For months countries around the world have been placed in and out of lockdown in a bid to reduce the effects of COVID-19. During these periods you were unable, and probably unwilling, to eat out. But, as the restrictions ease you’ll find that the government wants you to eat out. The economy needs it, as do local businesses.
Of course, you’ll be wondering if it’s safe to do so. The good news is that you can eat out, you just need to know how to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the process.
The first clue is how clean a restaurant looks when you step in. The floor should be clean, the tablecloths fresh, and the windows fingerprint free. This suggests that the owners are serious about the risk associated with COVID-19. In itself, this should inspire some confidence in you.
If you can, it’s also a good idea to glance at the kitchen. You would expect to see new food processing equipment. This ensures cleanliness is being taken seriously. Cooked and uncooked foods should be kept and dealt with separately.
Finally, check the bathroom, this definitely needs to feel clean.
Whether you’re eating inside or out you need to verify that the tables are positioned far enough away from each other. Social distancing is an important part of preventing disease spreading. You need at least a meter between your table and the next one, preferably a little more
Your server is the only person that should be near your table, and they should have a face mask on at all times. Equally, you should put your mask on if you leave the table for any reason.
One of the biggest risks while eating out is the impossibility of disinfecting every surface. Cutlery may carry the virus, as can the salt and pepper shakers, or even your chair. It’s impossible to be certain that everything has been cleaned and disinfected properly.
Many restaurants are using single-use utensils and dishware, this dramatically reduces the likelihood of infection being spread.
If a restaurant isn’t providing single-use cutlery you can always bring your own.
It’s important to pay by card as this minimizes the opportunity for germs to be spread. Ideally, you can use contactless although this may not always be possible, especially if your bill is high.
In general, minimizing the time spent in a restaurant will help to prevent you from contracting COVID-19. But, you should also ensure you touch your face as little as possible. If the restaurant is using disposable cutlery your best bet is to use this and keep your hands away from your mouth.
This will dramatically reduce the opportunities for the COVID-19 virus to spread and allow you to enjoy an almost normal meal in your favorite restaurant.
Of course, common sense is important, if you don’t feel comfortable in a particular restaurant then don’t go into it, there are other options available.