New dining etiquette rules will require trust, flexibility and patience because they are new and unfamiliar. Our stepping out moment has finally come, yet many people are apprehensive about dining out because home has been their safe place for so long. Further, we cannot always count on other people to do what they’re supposed to; we can only count on our behavior. Keep this in mind when dining out.
We are still very much in the dark about the virus. Rules are ambiguous at best, and there’s little consistency for restaurants, face coverings and anything virus related. Therefore, the comfort level will vary for everyone.
Cal-Osha https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-dine-in-restaurants.pdf has issued a roadmap for restaurants that is very through, but the question is will it be followed? There will always be a point of contact with food, from preparing your food to bringing your plate to the table and handling glassware. This will require a lot of trust on the part of the customer. On the flip side, take-out food also has risks. It might be in a to-go container, but someone had to put it there.
Look for visual clues: Is the table being wiped down between seatings? Is the staff clad in masks and gloves? Have they suspended all shared items? It’s a steep learning curve for employees because germs don’t discriminate; they are everywhere which makes this difficult to control.
The New Restaurant Rules
- Communication. This is key on the part of management. The more they can spell out their safety practice, the more comfortable a customer will feel.
- Masks. Have it on when you enter the restaurant until you’re seated, or given further direction.
- Payment. The trend is toward cashless payments, contactless credit cards or using an app as a form of payment.
- Reservations. They are recommended due to limited space and to allow time for staff to disinfect tables between customers.
- Restrooms. They are a high point of contact even with gloves and masks because of lines. Look for foot markers, or drink less at dinner.
- Shared Foods. Say goodbye to anything shared from salad bars to buffets and table side prep. No condiments should be on the dining table or even salt and pepper, straws or napkins.
- Social Distancing. If you’re seated close to someone and feel uncomfortable, speak up. With the new footprint, you should easily be able to distance yourself. If not, opt for takeout.
This We Know For Sure: Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing will help keep us safe. If we are smart about this we now can all help stop the spread of this pesky virus.
How to safely dine out. Bamboo plates and flatware.