Going out to a restaurant is a wonderful treat for many people, but nowadays it is not without risk and many are wondering if they can catch COVID-19 while dining out. The answer is yes, you can catch COVID-19 at a restaurant.
Many cafes are offering patio and outdoor seating to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Sadly, restaurants and bars still pose a huge danger. The virus is spread by respiratory droplets. People cannot wear a mask when eating or drinking, so they expel droplets that are easily picked up by those nearby.
If you do not want to stay at home and cook, then you might want to consider takeout instead of going to a restaurant to avoid catching COVID-19.
Here are the top ways you can catch COVID-19 dining out.
9. Not Wearing a Face Mask Always
If you do not wear a face mask between courses, then you run a significant risk of catching COVID-19. A mask protects you and the other diners in the restaurant, so it is imperative that you wear one when not eating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), extended exposure to strangers puts you at extreme risk.
8. Putting Your Hands Near Your Face
If you touch the table and condiments and then your face, then you might accidentally expose yourself to the virus. Ideally, you should not touch your face and only use utensils to eat your food. Also, use drinking straws to drink your beverages so you do not pick up the glasses and handle them with your hands.
In addition, you should always wash your hands both before and after eating. The virus cannot stand up to soap and water. Ideally, frequent handwashing is a great way to protect yourself when used with other preventative measures. If you touched the table surface or condiments, then you might have picked up the virus from the surface and could transfer it to your nose, mouth, or eyes with unclean hands.
7. Not Social Distancing from Other Diners
Many restaurants are not practicing the rules of social distancing or limiting the number of diners in the restaurant. You should always evaluate the steps that a restaurant is taking before making reservations. If you do not sit far enough away from other diners, then you are at significant risk. You should maintain at least six or more feet between you and other diners.
Children can be of particular issue in restaurants. Many children carry the virus without ever exhibiting symptoms. Sometimes parents let their children run loose in the restaurant and the youngsters have no concept of social distancing. They can easily spread the virus to adults.
6. Using Table Condiments and Self-Serve Areas
If the restaurant staff does not successfully clean the table condiments, then you might accidentally pick up the virus from the surface of the bottles. Bring your own condiment packs to avoid the bottles on the table.
Many fast-food restaurants have self-serve beverage and condiment areas that are not cleaned between each person. They pose a considerable risk of spreading the coronavirus and you should avoid them to stay safe.
5. Unsafe Employees
Not all employees are diligent about properly wearing their masks. Maybe they have slipped down past their nose or they are continually touching the mask. Are they wearing gloves? Are they keeping their distance when taking your order? These are all considerations when dining out.
Another employee interaction that you might not think about is valet service. Valet service might have seemed like a great idea before COVID-19; after all, who wants to hunt for a parking place? However, having a stranger sit in your car and handle the interior items is a risky endeavor. You never know where the person touched or if they breathed on items without a mask. To be safe, you should park your car yourself and say no to valet service.
4. Waiting for a Table
Restaurants have an extremely limited area to wait for a table. People often congregate near doorways or in seating areas. Some even sit in the bar. Not avoiding crowds is a dangerous practice. If you must wait for a table, try to distance yourself away from the crowd.
Ask for a buzzer that lets you know when the table is ready. You can even provide your cell phone number and ask for a call while you wait in your car.
3. Weak Bathroom Soap
Yes, soap can kill COVID-19, but some restaurants have very weak soap. If you want to be extra safe, then you should use hand sanitizer after you wash your hands to make sure they are sanitary and free of the virus.
2. Lack of Ventilation Around Seating
When it is hot or cold outside diners congregate indoors. The building ventilation system moves the air throughout the restaurant and spread the virus. If you must dine out at a restaurant, then only pick ones with patio seating.
However, many outdoor seating arrangements are under a canopy with little air circulation, so the lack of a breeze and so many people exhaling while they dine can spread the virus even outside. It is imperative that you socially distance tables even when dining outdoors.
1. Mingling at the Bar
People are social creatures and want to talk to each other. This is especially true in a bar, so you should avoid bars to limit the possibility of a stranger coming up to you to start a conversation.