As we enter the tenth month of the COVID pandemic, family dining has taken quite a hit. Customers who would normally linger over a brew and a burger may find it less relaxing being indoors with others who are potentially infected. Staff members may be running with a thinner crew than usual, which means wait times might be longer.
However, there are ways you can help your favorite restaurants (us included!) in order to keep our community healthy. Here are five tips for healthy dining out in the time of COVID.
- If You’re Sick, Stay Home
You may feel like you’re missing out if your family or housemates plan on eating out without you. However, plenty of restaurants are still providing to-go meals and delivery options, so you can still enjoy your favorite burgers and sides and happy hour specials while keeping your germs to yourself. When picking up your to-go orders, make sure to wear a mask while you’re out in public so that your germs don’t spread to nearby diners or staff members. Use social distancing methods and stay at least six feet away from others, especially in entryways and waiting areas that might be inside.
When you get home, give your hands a good, thorough washing, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is a good idea even if you don’t think you’ve touched anything. It’s better to be safe in this case, especially if you plan on using your hands to eat your burger.
- Before Going Out, Check the Restaurant’s COVID Prevention Practices
At Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, we consider your safety our priority. You can view our safety protocols online: All twelve of our locations are open for dine-in, and we’re following guidelines set out by the Center for Disease Control. If you decide to eat elsewhere but you don’t see anything listed on that restaurant’s website, give them a call and ask about what measures they’re taking to make sure their customers and staff members are being kept safe. If they don’t have any precautions in place—visit a restaurant that does.
For instance, all Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers employees are screened daily, and if they have a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees, or if they’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, they are required to stay home until they’re symptom-free for 72 hours without the use of medication. All staff members wear masks and practice enhanced safety measures, including frequent handwashing and sanitizing.
- If Possible, Sit Outside
The CDC states that COVID is spread when people are physically close to someone who is infected with COVID or who has direct physical contact with that person. Whenever an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sighs, sings, or even breathes, they expel respiratory droplets. These droplets carry the virus and can infect people, especially in indoor areas with poor ventilation. Sitting outside means the ventilation is much better, and your chances of being infected by those respiratory droplets are much lower.
You can also social distance while enjoying your meal outside and sit at least six feet away from others. This adds more of a buffer of space so that those droplets have a harder time reaching other people. However, evidence suggests that there is more of a chance of you picking up the virus from a hard surface where it has settled. If you touch, for instance, a table or chair that has been contaminated by the virus, the best thing you can do is to wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your eyes, ears, or face either.
If sitting outside isn’t possible, ask if there’s a seating option near an open window.
- Wear a Mask. Yes, Even at the Table
When you aren’t eating or drinking, keep your mask on while you’re enjoying your time with your dinner partners. This will decrease the number of respiratory droplets in the air and is also polite when the waiter or waitress is nearby. After all, they spend a lot more time around people than you might.
Also, if your dining partners are friends or family who you don’t live with, this is a good precaution to take since you don’t know if they have been infected and are asymptomatic. Wearing your mask at the table is also a good reminder to not touch your face or eyes during this time, since you’re out in a place where there might be an infected person. While you’re outside of your home, limiting contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items is a good idea too, so choose menu items that are single-serving or share with only one person, such as with salad dressing or other condiments.
- Wash Your Hands
This is the simplest form of prevention you can use. Germs and viruses can be passed around without us even thinking about it when we touch items and surfaces. Door handles, the arms of chairs, cutlery, elevator buttons, touchscreens—the list goes on. Make sure to wash your hands before you leave your house, after you’ve used the restroom, if you’ve touched your face or eyes, and when you receive a delivery order (such as if you use a delivery service to bring you single meals, groceries, or other necessities). It should be the first thing you do when you get home after a trip outside as well. Make sure you use warm running water and soap and that you wash every part of each hand: in-between your fingers, the tops of your hands, your fingertips, under your nails.
Before you use the restroom at the restaurant, make sure that there’s enough soap for you to use or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol and a way to dry your hands. When using the hand sanitizer, make sure you spread it all over your hands too, instead of just your palms and fingertips. As with washing, get in-between your fingers and under your nails. If these items aren’t available, make sure to bring them to the staff’s attention so they can refill them for you.
As always, your friendly neighborhood burger joint is always happy to answer your questions and set you up with a burger and a beer. We hope to see you soon!
Comments are closed.