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The #1 Worst Mistake to Avoid at Dine-In Restaurants

Stay safe, healthy, and smart as dining establishments are starting to reopen.
separated tables

Restaurants are opening across the nation as the country slowly awakens from the coronavirus lockdown. But as dining establishments adhere to stringent CDC guidelines designed to keep customers and staffers safe from the potentially deadly COVID-19 contagion, patrons should still be well aware that there is one thing that you must avoid doing at all costs… and that's spreading germs.

Medical and public health experts are learning more about who is most susceptible to the COVID-19 contagion, and perhaps more importantly, what specific conditions are most likely to spread the virus. Critical data has emerged that reveals that being in an indoor, high-trafficked and relatively crowded environment that is not well ventilated, greatly increases the likelihood of contracting the virus.

So, what can you do the next time you want to support your favorite restaurant? What can you do personally to help abate the outbreak and keep restaurant owners and staff members safe? Don't spread your germs. It seems so simple, yet some appear to take issue with the idea of why its critical we keep our germs to ourselves. What follows has been written before, but bears repeating: Here's the best way to not spread germs at your favorite restaurant.


Wash your hands!

Washing hands rubbing with soap man for corona virus prevention, hygiene to stop spreading coronavirus.

It's critical to thoroughly wash your hands before you go out to dinner. No, it doesn't need to be antibacterial soap, just good old soap will combine with your natural body oils and serve as a protective barrier between your hands and any possible contagion.


If you can, eat outside.

Turns out, being in a highly-trafficked and poorly ventilated indoor location puts one at most risk of getting the coronavirus. Being outside is much better for you than being indoors! This comes directly from recent research about what conditions are most conducive to the transmission of COVID-19. So, if your favorite eatery offers an option to dine al fresco? Take it!

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Avoid the restroom.

supermarket bathroom

Public bathrooms are a place you want to try to avoid as much as possible amid the pandemic, seeing as COVID-19 can easily be spread via the aerosolization of fecal matter when you flush the toilet. But, that's not all: You can also be exposed by people drying their hands at hand driers (bacteria, viruses, etc. from their hands can be transmitted through the air). If you can, it's best to hold it until you get home.


Wear a mask!

Waiter with protective medical mask and gloves serving guest with coffee at an outdoor bar café or restaurant new normal concept reopening after quarantine

Unless you are on the cutting edge and wearing remote-controlled mask technology, you won't be able to wear a mask while you dine. But, wearing one as you walk in and out of an indoor restaurant is respectful of the other patrons around you and limits the aerosol droplets that you breathe in and out. So, wear a mask!  It's not about you, it's about the fellow patrons and restaurant workers who fear for their health.


Be nice!

Remember that this is a stressful time for everyone, and going to the grocery store during this outbreak can bring the worst out in everyone. So take a deep breath and know that everyone is stressed. But above all else, please consider the staff members aiming for customer service and eager for the work. Health care workers are getting a lot of well-deserved love, but these folks need your support and patience as well. And above all else, they don't need your germs!

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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