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7 Precautions You Must Take When Dining Out with Friends

As restaurants slowly open up, keep these CDC guidelines in mind.
eating out

Even though restaurants are slowly starting to open their doors back up for business, if customers and employees aren't careful enough, they may be facing another spike in coronavirus cases and have to endure another shutdown. In order to keep those around you safe, here are a few precautions to take when dining out with friends, according to the recent CDC guidelines.


Hang in smaller groups.

eating small group

Grabbing a table with lots of people at a restaurant is probably something that's not going to happen for a little while. Instead, choose to hang in smaller groups of people. The CDC says it's best to hang with the people you've been quarantined with, because you can already ensure they are safe and healthy. However, if you're hanging with new people, keep the groups small, to reduce the risk of spread.

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Wear a face mask.

wear mask

Wearing a mask obviously isn't feasible when you're eating, but when you're around restaurant employees and other people that aren't in your small party, wearing a mask simply keeps everyone safe. You can wear a cloth face covering as you enter the restaurant and get seated. Tables are probably going to be placed at a social distance, so once seated, you probably won't have to worry as much. But as others walk by or the waiter comes around, do yourself (and them) a favor by covering your face. Plus, restaurants may even require you to wear them, and if you don't listen, they could actually kick you out.


Hang out with the same people.

dining out

It's going to be tempting to want to see all of your friends you haven't seen in person all at once. While the urge to do that is good, it's best to see new people at a slower rate and continually hang with the same people that you've been seeing. Adding new people to your circle of friends that you see in person only increases the risk, so it's best that you do this at a slower pace.

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Eat outside.

eating out

While the CDC guidelines say ordering takeout and walking off the premises really is the best way to avoid the virus spreading (simply because you're not there), the second best way to eat at a restaurant and decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 is by eating outside. So if you can, choose to eat at an outdoor table to make yourself and those around you comfortable during your dining out experience.


Keep your time together limited.

indoor dining

This one may seem like common sense, but it's worth mentioning. If you keep your time with someone limited, then there's going to be less risk of catching anything because of it. Plus, restaurants will probably have a strained turnaround time with fewer tables available for customers, meaning you won't have a ton of time to dilly-dally at the table. Keep your time together brief and cherish it.


Try to keep a distance.

keep distance

While tables will be set at a distance and restaurants will have particular guidelines for distancing, it's good for you to also keep social distancing from other people in mind. If you get up to use the restroom or if you're around other people in a restaurant, make sure to keep a distance and keep that mask on.


Bring hand sanitizer.

hand sanitizer

Lastly, hand sanitizer really does go a long way. Keeping clean hands will help in significantly decreasing the risk of spreading COVID-19, so by having a small bottle on hand at all times (and using it every so often), you'll be able to decrease the risk of catching it yourself as well spreading it to others.

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.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more