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Surprising Things You'll Encounter When You Go Out to Eat

Cities are reopening, and so are restaurants. But eating out is going to be a bit of a different experience from now on.
restaurant interior

Dining out is an experience that just may never truly be as it once was ever again. But with cities starting to reopen and people simply eager to get back to normal life in some capacity, eating at restaurants is one thing everyone is anxious to return to. The next time you go out to eat though, things will be different.

How so?

Well, here's a breakdown of all the surprising things you'll encounter when you're able to eat at a restaurant again.


Servers and customers wearing masks.

Server at the restaurant writing name and order for curbside service with mask in keeping social distance for coronavirus covid-19

While this one might not be super surprising right now, wearing masks in public spaces is also something that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. So you might still be surprised to see it will be implemented for quite some time, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that the most common way of the virus spreading is via respiratory droplets that are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.


You won't have to touch menus.

Waiter handing menu to customers

If you do get handed a menu, it will most likely be a single-use, disposable menu, or as one reader mentioned to us that in Florida, waiters are offering to turn menu pages for customers so you don't have to come in contact with menus yourself. You might also just be instructed to simply pull up the menu on your phone even. As far as the utensils you're given to eat your food with go, they'll most likely be presented you in a way where they're sealed up to allow for further safety precautions.

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Unusual dinner guests in a more spacious dining room.

You might look around and not only see that the dining areas are much less crowded, but there might be some unusual company eating alongside you. Restaurants will most likely not be filled to capacity as a way to allow for more social distancing between tables. In order to fill up empty seats to make diners feel more comfortable and to give the illusion of a full dining room, you might just see everything from mannequins to even stuffed animals alongside you. Makes for an interesting dining experience, right?


A bouncer.

security guard

No, you might not be at a nightclub, but you might encounter a security guard at restaurants moving forward. Some local restaurants across the U.S. so far have actually hired bouncers not to check your ID before heading in, but to have on hand in case anyone needs to be removed who is not following social distancing regulations while sitting inside or outside of the restaurant.


Temperature checks.

temperature check

For employees and customers, having your temperature checked might just be a new norm. In Tampa Bay, Florida, one restaurant used no-touch thermometers to check everyone hundreds of people since the establishment reopened and if someone's temp clocks in over 100 degrees, they're asked to not dine in that day. While it may come as a surprise to get your temperature checked when you're dining out, it's an extra safety precaution that while not required, you may come across. So don't be alarmed!

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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Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more