Saturday, July 13, 2024

Dining out? Consider these tips for doing so safely

No evidence currently suggests Covid-19 is spread by handling or eating food. But it is important to limit close contact with people outside your home or “bubble,” and be sure those you’re eating with haven’t been exposed to the virus. 

  • Assess your individual risk, that of your immediate family and friends and what’s happening in your community: what is the current spread and level of testing and tracing? Has there been a surge? Use that data to inform your decisions.
  • Be vigilant about being in a shared space. It’s easy to make a mistake because masks are off, like touching your face or coughing.
  • Eat at less-busy times. Choose a table as far apart from the others as possible.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer and use it instead of going to the restroom to wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer and wash hands vigorously before going out to eat and after you get home.
  • Observe the restaurant staff and precautions. Are they masked and gloved? Are tables spaced two meters apart? Is there hand sanitizer available — and is it being used? Are tables disinfected after customers leave? What kind of menu and payment methods are being used? Is the restaurant over-capacity? Are frequently touched surfaces disinfected? If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t stay.
  • Avoid walking through the restaurant (like to the restroom) to minimize exposure to airflow from other diners who may not have their masks on.
  • Keep your mask on until it’s time to eat. When you do take it off, don’t set it on the table; that’s where respiratory droplets could end up too. Instead, place it in a purse or small paper bag. Fold it with the mouth-side in, and when you put it back on be sure the same side is over your mouth. Sanitize your hands every time before touching your mask.

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