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Why You May Never Eat a Burger With Your Bare Hands Again

There is a super safe way to enjoy a burger, and it doesn’t involve a knife and fork, either.
man is eating hamburger in a fast food restaurant and enjoying delicious food

Safety at restaurants is a huge issue right now. With the COVID-19 virus spreading through many states while restaurants and other public places are reopening, reducing your risk of contracting the virus is critical. Although there is no evidence that the virus spreads through food, restaurants are a risky place.

Places in Eastern Europe have found a way to make one American summer classic food safer. They serve burgers with disposable gloves.

Yep, don't expect fries with that. According to the New York Times, in order to reduce the spread of germs, burger joints in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries give out plastic gloves for customers to wear. They are wrapped in plastic packets or inside napkins. Sometimes they are different colors to celebrate different holidays.

Related: This Beloved Burger Chain Is Making Drastic, Permanent Cuts to Their Menu

"Gloves, I think, are an unspoken, required attribute of any burger restaurant," Alina Volkolovskaya, the manager of Butterbro's in Moscow, told the New York Times. "I'm surprised that establishments in every country don't offer them."

They very well might, especially as coronavirus cases go up and restaurants continue to reopen around the country. This practice began in Russia before the pandemic but fits in well with the reopenings there. In 2016, a Russian rap star, Timati, posted on Instagram wearing gloves and eating a burger from a new chain restaurant called Black Star Burger (they have locations in Russia and Los Angeles). He encouraged his followers to do the same so their hands wouldn't "smell of burger."

Some other kinds of safety precautions eateries are taking include limiting the number of people allowed in restrooms. Plexiglass is now being used in many fast-food restaurants to further shield customers and employees from each other. Masks are required in restaurants except when you're seated to eat. Fewer tables are available to accommodate for social distancing. But no place in the U.S. has announced their intentions of handing out gloves with their food — yet.

One well-known hamburger aficionado told the New York Times that gloves may be safer, but they take away from the experience when you are eating a burger. Gloves or no gloves, it's best not to lick your fingers while eating a burger these days.

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Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a health and food writer and a certified yoga instructor. Read more
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