COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down. Despite this, restaurants have reopened their doors. In some cases, we’ve seen dangerous levels of gathering at restaurants. To continue preventing the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to take safe precautions.

Amidst COVID-19, restaurants have begun to reopen.
Amidst COVID-19, restaurants have begun to reopen. Image by Artem broken from Pexels.

After nationwide shutdowns, we’ve seen gyms, retailers, and now restaurants reopen their doors. As with gyms and retailers, there are preventative measures to take at restaurants during the COVID-19 outbreak. To lower your exposure risk and stay safe at restaurants, consider the following steps.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Wash your hands frequently at restaurants during COVID-19.
Wash your hands frequently at restaurants during COVID-19. Image by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels.

This is something that applies to the COVID-19 outbreak in general, but is especially important in high-traffic areas like restaurants. Clinical professor of epidemiology, Robyn Gershon, recommends making sure your hands are clean before touching your food. Restaurant furniture can transmit the virus onto your clothes and person. Sanitize as often as possible, especially when touching potential disease vectors like silverware and credit cards.

Sit Outside

If you can, dine outdoors at restaurants during COVID-19.
If you can, dine outdoors at restaurants during COVID-19. Image by Juhasz Imre from Pexels.

This one is a little obvious. Sit outside if the restaurant offers it. The air outside is more diluted than indoors and lowers your exposure risk.

Wear a Mask and Social Distance

Wear a mask, even when dining at restaurants during COVID-19.
Wear a mask, even when dining at restaurants during COVID-19. Image by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels.

As with any other public space, it’s highly recommended that you wear a mask to prevent spreading the disease in case you’re carrying it to restaurants. This courtesy keeps your servers and fellow diners safe. Also, be sure to stay six feet apart from others if you can.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Avoid touching your face, especially at restaurants.
Avoid touching your face, especially at restaurants. Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

Again, this is something that you’re likely already aware of. When dining out at a restaurant, do not touch your face. This is how the virus is most easily transmitted, so try your best to be aware of it. Even if you are wearing gloves, touching your face is a no-no since they can pick up the COVID-19 virus from contaminated surfaces.

Use Disposables

Lower exposure to COVID-19 by using disposable dinnerware.
Lower exposure to COVID-19 by using disposable dinnerware. Image by Kaboompics .com from Pexels.

If the option is available, ask for single-serve condiment packets and disposable utensils. This lowers the risk of picking up the virus from things like condiment bottles and silverware, which Gershon notes are prime suspects for COVID-19 cross-contamination at restaurants.

Don’t Dine Out at All

The safest way to eat at restaurants during COVID-19 is to order take out or delivery.
The safest way to eat at restaurants during COVID-19 is to order takeout or delivery. Image by Pixabay from Pexels.

The best way to stay safe at restaurants during COVID-19 is to avoid going to them entirely. Even with precautions, Gershon states that it’s impossible to keep every single surface in a restaurant clean.

Staying six feet apart in restaurants is difficult, given the nature of serving food and drinks. The shared air supply adds to this. Even if you wear a mask, it’s likely that you can’t eat in one, meaning that many people are probably spending some amount of time without a mask and potentially spreading COVID-19.

It’s understandable that you’d miss your favorite foods during quarantine. While it’s tempting to return to normal activities like going to restaurants, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still prevalent.

The best option for supporting restaurants while still practicing safe distancing is to order carry-out or delivery, which is available through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, or the restaurant itself.