The current health crisis had most of the world shelter in place to curb the spread of the virus for months. As a result, a lot of us are starting to get antsy having to stay put and miss our regular routines. It has also significantly affected many industries, especially the restaurant business.
Now that things have eased, however, many are wondering whether it’s okay to dine out again. While many of us are already going on on a daily basis to work, it’s not really clear whether it’s okay to visit restaurants. As dining out requires removing face masks to enjoy the meal, some folks aren’t too comfortable with the idea just yet.
However, according to experts, there are certain circumstances that make it alright to dine out. Dining al fresco is the most ideal right now, so if a restaurant has patio seating, then you don’t have to worry too much. The open air promises better air circulation and gives the aerosol particles to dissipate with ease. You will not necessarily be breathing in recycled air, so that lessens the odds of contracting the virus.
Indoor dining can be a bit more problematic, especially if the space is small and cramped. It’s best to avoid them altogether. However, those with large spaces and good ventilation can still be relatively safe to visit. As long as the establishment ensures proper distancing and good air circulation, then you don’t have to worry too much about getting infected.
Planning in advance is important now when dining out, so you should take the time to do so. Many restaurants list their available seatings. The California Pizza Kitchen, for example, has a list of their stores with patio seating. Applebee’s and Panera Bread have set up outdoor dining areas as well in many of their locations. The Alinea Group is also noted for their attentive assistance to interested guests. It’s best to check with your nearby eatery, however, the availability of such spaces to be sure.
Now the only thing that might hold lots of people back is guilt. It’s honestly better to just stay at home right now as it further lowers the odds of getting and spreading the disease. Going out for leisure and other unnecessary things are still discouraged. But if you’re already suffering from some kind of cabin fever and just need to do one small thing to shake it off, dining out might be worth considering.
If you’re still going to follow safety protocols and won’t go out unnecessarily on a regular basis, maybe a few lunch meals out shouldn’t hurt. You can look at it as a form of self-care, especially since the current circumstances take a toll on lots of people’s mental wellbeing.
To be fair, lots of people are already dining at restaurants than before. We just don’t know about it as most folks refrain from posting about it on their social media accounts. While we don’t promote venturing out of the house unnecessarily, some outings can be accompanied by a quick meal, don’t you think?
In case you still worry that you’ll feel bad about dining out in the middle of this pandemic, here are three more points that might help you feel better at ease about it.
If you’re worried about food safety, experts believe that the virus doesn’t spread through food. While studies are still needed to learn more about the virus, initial studies suggest that it doesn’t get passed on by ingesting what could be infected food items. This makes it safe to enjoy a meal that is prepared by someone else.
However, to be on the safe side, it’s best to consume cooked food when dining out at the moment. Cooking can help kill bacteria and viruses that could be on the surface of the ingredients.
You’ll be supporting struggling businesses by doing so.
Some restaurants may have been allowed to operate during lockdowns for being classified as essential services, they are still some of the worst affected industries in this crisis. Even with deliveries and takeouts, many businesses cannot make ends meet. This is why most of them are forced to open their dining rooms now that rules have eased up.
By patronizing your favorite local eatery, you can also help keep their lights on. This is particularly true for those who do not do deliveries. As long as they strictly enforce safety measures, heading to their stores might do some good.
While staying at home is still the best way to navigate the pandemic, taking a break from time to time to do ‘normal stuff’ might not hurt with ample preparation and precaution. Dining out without serious repercussions can be possible even if there’s no guarantee for it. And if you do choose to tough it out, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.