Red Flags To Be On The Lookout For When Restaurants Reopen

Posted: May 28, 2020

As restaurants reopen dining rooms, many Americans are eager to once again eat out at their favorite spots.

However, customers need to watch out for red flags that signal some restaurants aren't currently safe.

"The one thing we do know is the virus is still out there," Celeste Monforton, a lecturer in public health at Texas State University told Business Insider. "When some governor said, 'May 1, we're opening things up,' it's not like the virus had a calendar and said, 'OK, I'm going underground again.'"

Experts and industry groups have created guidelines to keep restaurants as safe as possible as they reopen dining rooms. Restaurants that are following this guidance will be far safer to visit than those that have not made any adjustments to protect customers and workers against the coronavirus.

Here are some red flags to look out for when determining if it is safe to dine out at your favorite restaurant once again.

  • If every table is open and the restaurant has as many seats as it did before the pandemic, you should avoid this spot.
  • People are closer than six feet to each other at tables, bars, or while entering the restaurant.
  • The restaurant has poor airflow and relies on air conditioning.
  • It is hard to tell at first glance how closely restaurants are following guidelines. If you're concerned, it is worth calling ahead of time and asking what new policies have been rolled out to keep customers and workers safe.
  • Workers aren't wearing masks.
  • You can't get a reservation.
  • Limited tables and social distancing measures mean that fewer people will be allowed into a restaurant at a time. While employees can turn customers away at the door, a more convenient way to impose limits is by requiring reservations.

If you live in an area where the number of COVID-19 cases is still increasing and hospitals are struggling to provide care for patients, it may not be safe to return to restaurants, even if dining rooms are open.

By Kate Taylor
May 27, 2020
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