How To: Eat Out During COVID-19

So you’ve run out of frozen Trader Joe’s mac and cheese, there is nothing in your fridge, your kitchen is a mess, life is falling apart, and you can’t remember the last time you ate a vegetable or a meal that didn’t come from a box. It’s also been months since you sat down at a restaurant with your friends, eating and laughing, using proper cutlery and flexing your mediocre table manners. So you decide: it’s time. You want to sit down at a restaurant, support a small business and eat some good food. But before you go, think through these 6 tips to make sure you don’t catch the rona at a restaurant:

1. Make a reservation

Most restaurants require reservations due to capacity limits. Reservations can be made online through a simple search of the restaurant or over the phone. Making a reservation will ensure that you won’t be turned away and that you don’t have to wait in a line, decreasing your risk. 

2. BYO Hand Sanitizer

Bring your own hand sanitizer/wipes and make sure to sanitize your hands before touching your food. Don’t count on every restaurant to provide hand sanitizer, so BYO!

3. Wear your mask at all times (except when you’re eating)

There are a lot of contact points when eating out: when your server takes your order, brings you your food, gets the check, etc. These are all risk points, so make sure to put on your mask to protect yourself and your server. 

4. Know the risk

Take out is the safest option, followed by outdoor dining, and the riskiest is indoor dining. If possible, opt for the first two, but as we come into the winter months, outdoor dining might not be possible. Be aware of the risk and make decisions accordingly!

5. Get tested!

A lot of COVID-19 symptoms overlap with the common cold, so it may be easy to dismiss your symptoms. If you are going to eat out, make sure you know your COVID-19 status and get tested regularly.  

6. Know the restaurant

Checking the restaurant’s website or third party sites like Yelp can be helpful to figure out what COVID-19 precautions a restaurant is taking. Yelp will let you know if staff is required to wear masks/gloves/face shields, if they provide hand sanitizer and if they clean their tables. Though it’s always important to take these reviews with a grain of salt, it’s a good idea to check these before making your reservations.If your restaurant isn’t on Yelp, give them a call and ask about their COVID precautions!

7. Keep your numbers small

When eating out in groups try to keep your groups small. The larger the group the more risk involved! Also, if you have a large group it’s especially important to make a reservation so the restaurant can sit you away from other groups.

So go forth: grab your friends, phone, keys, wallet, mask, hand sanitizer and your sanity. Support small businesses, eat well and pretend 2020 is not a dumpster fire. Be respectful and responsible, because *we are all in this together*. 

If you are located in Philly here is a list of places that have outdoor dining! It gets updated regularly so keep a look out for new spots and changes. 

Cover Photo by Shawn Ang on Unsplash

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