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The Worst Thing You're Doing in Restaurants That Infuriates Other Customers

Avoid the wrath of other diners by following this simple rule.

Dining out at restaurants has a special energy around it. Whether you go take a night off for date night, girls night out, or even just a fun culinary experience to break up the week, the expedition to any eatery feels fun and exciting. With such high anticipation, it only takes a moment for the poor actions of others to put a damper on the whole night.

Everyone has that scarring memory of another diner causing a scene in a restaurant, but it gets even worse when someone at your table starts the problem. With coronavirus still keeping restaurant occupancy low, the unruly patron causes even more annoyance and disruption in this new environment.

Common courtesy has even greater importance now more than ever during the age of COVID-19. Diners that openly disregard mask policies and people who cause a scene by yelling at waitstaff feel ten times as unpleasant as before. One of the greatest deadly sins of dining out prior to coronavirus now proves to be a life-threatening hazard—letting your unsupervised children play in the restaurant.

Children now present a public safety hazard

On a good day before the pandemic shut down the US restaurant scene, parents who let their children freely play in restaurants and disturb other patrons were one of the worst scourges on other diners. The lack of discipline created incredibly unpleasant situations for everyone except the oblivious parents. In a time when a child could unknowingly carry COVID-19 and spread it to other patrons through their antics, this behavior tops the list of the most inexcusable behaviors.

Restaurant-goers must display a certain finesse when it comes to eating out these days, and keep a social distance. In addition to all of the old restaurant etiquette we learned growing up, we now have to figure in wearing a mask between courses and remembering to sanitize our hands as much as possible to prevent transmission of germs.

Getting kids to follow basic dining rules can take time, and fussy toddlers especially take extra effort to teach. Now imagine trying to get these same children to keep their masks on when in public.

If you're a parent who lets these same kids run free, you not only disturb the peace, but you put your fellow restaurant-goers at risk of contracting the disease.

It may be worth waiting to dine out with your kids.

While we know a good deal about how coronavirus spreads in adults, the transmission of the virus in kids is still a large unknown. Younger demographics express symptoms in different ways, and you might not even know if your child is a carrier if they haven't been tested. If you ever needed an excuse to go on a couples-only dining experience, now's the time.

Even if your child is virus-free, getting a mask on them can be a challenge in itself. Children may be afraid of wearing facemasks, and if parents don't take the proper time to explain the importance of these PPE's, restaurants face shuttering again.

In these uncertain days, health impacts and respecting others should remain at the top of your priority list. Do yourself, the restaurant, and all your fellow diners a favor and reign your kids into your own table next time you go out for Sunday brunch or an evening meal.

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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.
Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich
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