It’s reasonable to assume that most people have begun suffering from so-called lockdown fatigue. Tired of staying indoors, tired of not seeing friends, tired of cooking our own home-cooked meals day in and day out. You may have been enjoying lockdown food delivery services but, if you’re a foodie, as you undoubtedly are, then the call to eat out is begging to be answered. But you may be questioning whether it really is safe to eat out at restaurants while Covid-19 is still roaming our streets.
Of course, there is no hard and fast rule. Covid-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and, unfortunately, we’ll have to begin planning around it to live our lives as comfortably as we can while still keeping ourselves and the people around us safe and healthy.
Eating out inherently carries a greater risk of infection. Research worldwide has shown that a surge of infections can be linked directly to an increase in restaurant and bar visits.
But this does not mean you necessarily have to forego your love of dining out — or even attending a small-scale event! Instead, you just need to consider a few key factors and ascertain the risk factors. And, then, decide for yourself which venues are more low-risk and which ones ought to be avoided.
Evaluate Each Restaurant For Covid-19 Precautions
This is of the utmost importance and probably the easiest one to control, for both customers and venues themselves.
Pay attention to the following:
- Ample space between individual tables and chairs to allow for social distancing
- Online and/or disposable menus
- Waitstaff and kitchen staff wearing masks and/or visors
- Hand sanitiser provided on each table
- Tables properly sanitised between visits
- Guests wearing masks at all times except while at the table, eating or drinking
- Venue enforcing sanitising and mask-wearing for staff and guests
These are in addition to proper sanitisation of the venue as a whole. Of course, these points may seem obvious and many are government-regulated. But there are still some restaurants that are trying to get away with not enforcing these safety precautions.
This is not the time to skimp on hygiene measures, as all successful — and caring — restaurants will know.
If you’re struggling to figure out which restaurants may be safe to visit, check out a site like Squaremeal, which is now showing hygiene ratings on all their restaurant listings. Click here. This will take away some of the worry and already help you narrow down your search.
Choose Outside Seating As Far As Possible
Even if all the above precautions are taken, you should still choose to be seated outside. This may be difficult on cold, rainy days but try to do this as far as possible. The fresh air and open space significantly reduce the chance of a Covid-19 infection.
If the venue of your choosing only allows for inside seating, then check for good air circulation and open spaces. For example, a venue might have high ceilings. Or they may have decided to increase the space between tables even more as a safety guideline. With inside air circulation, beware of air conditioning, though, which may increase the risk of infection.
Choose Off-Peak Times
Of course, this may be difficult with work and life schedules but, if you can, choose to visit your favourite restaurant in off-peak times.
A less busy restaurant will inherently carry less of a risk. While restaurants may be bustling over lunch and dinner periods, you’ll probably find times throughout the day when fewer people are visiting.
If you’re assessing risks and deciding whether it is safe to eat out at a restaurant during Covid-19, then choosing off-peak times certainly is the way to go,
Keep Yourself & Others Safe
If you’ve found a venue that adheres to all safety regulations, has decided on additional safety measures, seems like a comfortable space to eat, and you feel safe to visit, then, by all means, go ahead. After all, we’re heading into the merry season (yes, already!) where good times are to be enjoyed.
Remember: While keeping yourself safe at all times is important, also be considerate and think about your next of kin, your fellow diners, and the restaurant and venue staff. Wear your mask while talking to waitstaff, sanitise often, and be kind and courteous.
We’re all in this together, and, together, we can make a difference.
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All information correct at time of publication. We do not accept any liability caused by errors, including, but not limited to, changes in price, menu, opening times, address, or other contact details.