The world once it reopens after the coronavirus pandemic will look much different than what it used to before we went into lockdowns and shelter at homes. From covered and masked faces to wearing gloves, and being obsessed with staying germ-free, things are bound for inevitable changes. It will be the exact same when it comes to dining and the restaurant industry in general. Packed diners are set to be a thing of the past, and social distancing will have to be maintained at all times. Restaurant owners are experimenting and improvising creative methods every day to make sure they stay ahead of the curve. Along with handwashes, you will also be witnessing hand sanitizers across most of the public spaces you visit. From disposable paper menu cards, to waiters in full PPE kits, the experience of dining out is going to change in the foreseeable future. Even with all of the updates and safety measures in effect, what’s even more important is to have a general awareness about the situation. Check out some of these tips to make sure you have an extra safe trip to dining out when the food joints finally reopen:
1. Practice Social Distancing at All Times
Regardless of whether you wear masks or gloves, it is still important to maintain social distancing at all times, even if it’s your best mates that you go out with. The virus knows no boundaries after all. As long as you are not staying in isolation at a commonplace, risks are always high and unpredictable. While being germophobic is never a feeling we are acquainted with, difficult times call for drastic measures, and safety always comes first. Never compromise on health, and it is always best to stay safe than be sorry tomorrow. If you somehow have to wait in a queue at a diner, make sure that you maintain a safe distance, and don’t be shy to politely ask those around you to stay at a safe distance. If you feel that the chairs and tables in the diner are arranged closer than you are comfortable with while practicing social distancing – distance yourself or move to another table that offers safe distances if possible.
2. Carry your Own Hygiene Kit
While most of the establishments will from now on be offering handwashes and hand sanitizers, it would best to carry your own personal hygiene kit. Public places often attract people from different places and always have common touchpoints. It is also very likely that a common hand sanitizer/hand wash or even the hand wipes were handled by the people who were on your table before you got there. To avoid having to use such a hand sanitizer or hand wash, it is always best to have your own hygiene kit or at least the most important ones like hand sanitizers and hand wipes on the go.
3. Choose Wisely to Stay Healthy
In the post coronavirus world, choices and patience are two things that would go hand in hand with each other. If you were someone who followed a carefree lifestyle and did not bother about health and hygiene when visiting a public space, change those habits now! As a cure for the coronavirus has still not been developed, we will just have to live with the infection for the time being. In such a time, it is important to give priority to safety, over personal favorites. If a favorite restaurant looks crowded, move away. If the takeout restaurant you visit has run out of your favorite dish but has no crowds, sacrifice your cravings with an alternative choice instead of roaming around in the public. If your daily restaurant is a popular one that always attracts huge crowds, why not opt for fewer days to dine out and spend more days having food at home. Cook for a change, and thereby avoid the time you spent outdoors on a daily basis. We would ideally want to spend the least amount of time outdoors, and even less time amidst a crowd.
4. Plan and Schedule Your Trip in Advance
The best lesson the epidemic has taught us is to be patient and well organized. We can no longer stay carefree and do things as we please, and there is a constant fear of being infected among most of us. While it could freak you out in certain instances, to some extent, it can be said as a good thing as well. We thought we are invincible, and nothing could stop us, but just a simple virus strain has shown us how fragile our modern society is. Planning will be an integral part of our day to day lives from now onwards. Even the trip to our local grocery or mall would require us to chart out a plan, reserve a parking spot, and how we can transit from point A to point B with social distancing. The same should also be done when it comes to dining out. Plan ahead of your travel on which diner you want to visit, reserve parking, ask friends to bring cars if required, and have backup restaurants if the one you visit is overcrowded. Our Meal Plan Subscription can help you pick some of the most affordable dine-out deals in your city.
5. Proper Aftercare After Dining Out
It is very important to follow proper aftercare upon returning after going out. You need to be extra careful when it comes to visiting public places like diners and restaurants. Wash your hands before leaving the restaurant and again after reaching home. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and public health officials have all issued warnings to avoid or minimize touching our faces. Also, be on the lookout for people without a mask, and maintain a proper distance to make sure you are well clear if they coughed or sneezed. Most of the restaurants now provide wipes before entering to open the doors without worrying. In the absence of such wipes, you can use long sleeves, hankies or paper towels if you have any. If the menu card is still a laminated one, it’s best not to pick them up, even if you are wearing gloves.
Most importantly, make sure you dispose of the safety items properly instead of throwing them around carelessly. Dispose of used masks and gloves immediately and properly after use. It is completely normal to be germophobic during such a time, so don’t be shy to wipe the restaurant’s sea and part of the table you would be using. All these new norms would feel weird in the beginning, but once you get used to it, things will get better. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. If you still feel that going to the diners is a gamble, but you still want to dine out with your friends, why not arrange a dine out watch party. You can either opt for takeout and delivery (preferably a curbside one) or choose food delivery platforms. Set a time and join the dine out party on any of the popular video chat platforms. While it can never replace the feeling of dining out at a restaurant, it is the best option for those worried about COVID-19 infection, and for those who prefer staying home.
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