For many of us, dining out used to be one of the easiest ways to unwind. But with COVID-19 entering the picture on a global scale, what used to be a fun and harmless social activity now comes with a couple of health risks.
That doesn’t mean you can’t dine out again, though. As many cities ease their quarantine restrictions and allow restaurants to re-open, dine-in customers are now being accepted again. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Managing Emerging Diseases has recently imposed safety tips for restaurants to follow and enforce. If you’re planning to dine out again soon, here are some safety tips for dining in the new normal to keep in mind before you enjoy your favorite meal:
Sanitize your hands as soon as you settle on your seat and before removing your face mask.
Soap & water is still the best combo when it comes to keeping your hands clean and protecting yourself against COVID-19, but sanitizing your hands with a personal hand sanitizer may be your better option when dining out. A food establishment is still a closed space and the less surface and area you touch, the better. Remember to sanitize your hands before entering the restaurant, after answering the required health checklist, and before removing your face mask by its ear straps.
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Bring a breathable container for your face mask.
Restaurants require a “No face mask, no entry” rule and this applies for both customers and employees. Now that you’re settled on your seat and ready to take a bite at your ordered meal, you might be faced with your next dilemma: where should you place your face mask?
The answer is simple: bring a breathable container for your face mask. You may use a small paper bag or a mesh pouch for this as experts say that face masks lose their effectiveness when damp. This way of storage will keep your face mask away from possible contaminants while allowing it to dry. Never ever put your face mask on the table while you’re eating.
Maintain your distance.
Most restaurants have placed a plastic or safety barrier on their dining tables to help enforce the social distancing rule for dine-in customers. Only a certain number of people are allowed inside the restaurant premises as well to minimize exposure. Take the initiative to maintain ample distance from fellow diners when they pass in the hallway or when you’re queued to pay for your bill.
Pro-tip: try to dine out with as few people as you can. We understand that catching up over a meal or a cup of coffee is an enjoyable way to bond with your loved ones, but the fewer people you meet with, the lower your risk of transmission is.
Ask for disposables or bring your own cutlery.
Using disposable plastic cutlery and single-use condiments may not be exactly an environment-friendly way to enjoy your meal in this new normal, but this can help ensure safe dining by reducing the risk of cross-contamination. If you want to reduce waste, it’s also wise to bring your own personal cutlery with you.
Avoid touching your face.
We cannot emphasize this enough: keep your hands away from your face. Touching shared surfaces (especially in public!) and then touching your face could increase your risk of getting COVID-19.
Put your mask back on when you’re not eating.
Once you’ve completely finished your meal, it should be common courtesy for you to put your mask (and face shield) back on before the restaurant servers come to clear your plates and collect your bill. Try not to linger too much inside the restaurant premises too once you’re done.
Do you prefer to order food delivery instead? Check out these merienda bites by Miss B!
Words by Angela Ayson
Featured image from Shutterstock