How Diners Can Prepare to Go Out as Restaurants Reopen

Many communities across the globe have begun to gradually reopen. That’s good news for the millions of small businesses that have struggled as the world responded with extreme caution to prevent the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus from spreading.

Estimates from the National Restaurant Association indicate that restaurant sales in the United States decreased by tens of billions of dollars since March, while forecasts predicted those numbers would be in the hundreds of billions by the end of the 2020. In recognition of the vital roles restaurants play in building and fostering strong communities, consumers are looking forward to returning to their favorite establishments as economies slowly reopen. Diners can do their part to make reopening efforts successful and sustainable by staying home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Venturing out while symptomatic puts everyone, including restaurant workers and fellow diners, at risk, so it’s imperative that people pay attention to their bodies and avoid going out if they are experiencing even mild symptoms.

In addition to staying home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, diners can take these steps to work in partnership with local restaurants as these vital components of the community begin to reopen.

· Dine out in small groups. Phase 1 reopening guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people. But when dining out, consumers should keep their groups even smaller. An assortment of studies from the CDC have found that the virus is easily spread among groups of people in enclosed spaces. By limiting dinner parties to no more than the number of people in their households, consumers can help restaurants safely reopen.

· Wear masks. Wearing a mask to a restaurant may seem odd, but by keeping their mask on until their food arrives, diners can help prevent the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization notes that it’s believed the virus can spread through small respiratory droplets produced while talking or laughing. So diners can keep themselves and fellow customers and restaurant workers safe by wearing their masks until their food arrives.

· Remain patient. Life in the era of social distancing requires significant adjustments, and restaurants reopening will be adjusting right along with everyone else. Afford restaurant staff ample patience and go along with any protocols restaurant owners put in place. All measures are aimed at keeping customers and staff safe while getting people who have been out of work for months back on the job. Each of those goals is worth the patience it may take to help restaurants achieve them.

· Order takeout. If you’re uncomfortable visiting a local restaurant in person or frustrated by potentially long wait times for a table, order takeout instead. Restaurants need the business after a very rough stretch, and consumers can benefit greatly from a night off from cooking.

Local restaurants are reopening in communities across the globe. Supporting these businesses can be vital to local economies and help millions of people return to work.

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