(QCOSTARICA) While many are hungry to go out to support local restaurants that have lost a significant amount of business during the pandemic, there are some things to keep in mind before you head to the restaurant too quickly.
There has been mixed feedback from customers and servers about how safe it really is to be dining out, especially because it requires your mask to be removed when it is otherwise mandatory.
A lot of changes have been implemented in restaurants that were enacted to keep diners and staff members as safe as possible, while still maintaining some sense of “normalcy,” but there are added steps you can take as a customer that will further ensure your health and the safety of those around you. Here are some ways to stay safe during restaurant reopening, both for yourself and for other diners.
1. Stay six feet apart
Restaurants should have tables set up so that no one outside of your six-foot bubble comes near you, but be sure to practice this as you enter, exit, or wait for the bathroom.
2. No sharing food
Especially if you’re dining with people you don’t currently live with, tasting around the table shouldn’t be happening.
3. Stay away from the AC
The air-conditioning can help move the virus in the air from an infected person a few tables over who coughed or sneezed. If you have to sit inside, make sure no vents or AC boxes are around you.
4. Properly store your mask
Don’t just throw your mask in your purse or place it on the table. When you’re not wearing it, place your mask inside a clean, breathable bag (like a paper one), so any potential moisture has time to dry.
5. Carry hand sanitizer
This should be a must when you’re traveling just about anywhere outside of your home, but especially when you’re dining in a restaurant.
6. Avoid menus
It’s best to avoid any reusable or frequently touched items, including your menu. Some restaurants have done away with physical menus altogether, so take a look at what’s good online in advance, and come ready to order.
7. Wash your hands before & after eating
Before and after you eat, head to the bathroom to thoroughly wash your hands, especially if you had to touch a door to come inside. The same goes for after eating, but you may want to sanitize once you’re outside if you’re touching a door to exit.
8. Don’t touch your face
Follow the same rules you’d be mindful of while at the grocery store or out shopping, and keep your hands off of your face to lower the risk of the virus entering your body and infecting you.
9. Sanitize your phone
Come prepared to the restaurant with handy sanitizing wipes for your phone, especially if you’ll be using it during your meal. Even if you’re washing your hands regularly, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down your phone!
10. Skip the cash
Opt for a contactless payment method rather than using cash. Be mindful of the risk factor associated with handling money.
11. No eating with your hands
Sorry, fries, burgers, wings, and pizza, it’s probably best if hand-held foods are eaten in the safety of your own home. Even if your hands are washed, it’s best to stick to a fork and knife situation in restaurants.
Though restaurants should be staying true to their promises of thoroughly sanitizing and cleaning, you can’t be too careful! Bring your own wipes to sanitize your table before you sit down.
13. Stay away from anyone coughing
While you may be feeling healthy and prepared to safely dine out, it’s not likely that all customers have taken similar precautions. Should you encounter someone who is coughing or sneezing an excessive amount in your area, it’s best to ask to be moved if possible, because the virus can spread beyond six feet.
14. Stay home if you’re feeling sick
This should apply always when eating out, but just stay home! It’s not worth potentially infecting someone else if you are sick, and you could even face legal action because of it.
15. Wear a mask
A mask is now mandatory to be used by all in a restaurant: patrons (you) and food servers. And while you may opt for a face shield, food servers cannot, they must wear a mask.
Remember, even if someone touches a surface that has an infectious virus, as long as they don’t touch their mouth, nose, or eyes they should be safe. So, when in doubt, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.