A period of yearning to break the boredom or skipping the hassle of preparing our dinners is about to end. Soon, we will be able to visit our favourite cafes around the block for a take-out or to share a meal with our friends at a restaurant where we hold the title as regulars. The authorities have published government decree to guide businesses, particularly restaurants and cafes, on how to start welcoming customers while trying to protect the diners and their own staff from being infected by the COVID-19. This guidance includes requirements for intensive cleaning and sanitation, distancing between diners and waitress, proper ventilation and the use of disposable cutlery. However, would these measures be successful to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay? In other words, would it be safe to eat out again?
While eating out at our favourite restaurants could cure our longing for social connection and avoiding the hassle of preparing ones' meals, we should also keep in mind that the measures taken or implemented by the restaurants are preventional at best, according to experts. Safe to say that we are now allowed to dine out again, yet at our own risk. Nevertheless, if the urgency to eat out is unstoppable, there are few tips we can try to lower the risk of being in contact with the virus that to some people, could be deadly.
Choose to Sit Outside and Leave As Soon As Possible
If prior to the global pandemic we tended to stay at our favourite restaurant as long as we could hold our tables, post-COVID-19, it is important to leave as soon as we finish eating our foods. Let the joy of bonding with our friends or significant others reserved during the meal alone. That’s because the longer we stay in a possibly contaminated area, the higher the chances for us to inhale the virus. However, when it’s necessary to stay longer after the meal, choose a table that is set outside the restaurant's building as open-air will keep the virus aloft.
Frequent Hand-Washing and The Use of Hand Sanitiser
One thing for us to carry along to the restaurant should we plan to eat out is a hand sanitiser or wipes that contain at least 60% of alcohol. Once we have arrived, the first thing first for us to do is to walk into the restaurant’s toilet and wash our hands with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap for 20 seconds. Then, remember to take a piece of paper and use it to touch the knob of the toilet’s door, if any, or otherwise, open the door with one's elbow. Even though washing hands remains the golden standard in limiting the possibility of the virus to transmit, ramp up our responsibility of self-protection by applying hand sanitiser whenever we have touched any surface that belongs to the restaurant property and before eating our foods.
Wear a Mask and Keep the Distance
It might sound silly to wear a mask at a restaurant and there has been no consensus made to confirm the effectiveness of mask in protecting us from COVID-19. However, we could jump into the bandwagon and put on a mask when we go out. In case we carry the virus but showing no symptoms, wearing a mask hinders us from releasing our droplets we exhale and spread them to someone else. It also prevents our favourite restaurant to be the new epicentre of COVID-19. On top of that, we need to maintain our distance from other diners. As advised by the authorities, many restaurants that are opening should set up a table arrangement that enhances distancing, with six feet or 1,5 metres apart as a minimum distance, in order to protect customers as well as the waitress from being too close to each other.
Bring Our Own Cutlery Set
It is conspicuous that COVID-19 pandemic generates externalities that are benefiting the environment. However, the instruction from the authorities requires restaurants not only to frequently clean up but also to limit the use of shared items. This means that shared condiments and utensils would no longer exist and be replaced with packed peppers or salts and disposable cutlery. Unfortunately, not too many restaurants are ready to use eco-friendly cutlery. In that case, we could protect ourselves from creating more waste and from the exposure of the novel coronavirus by bringing our own cutlery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our normalcies. The silver lining is, this phenomenon has also brought us closer to our loved-ones, made us see the meaning of things we used to take for granted and taught us the importance of humanity.
The 1 People’s Team