6 Safety Tips For Dining Out During The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: July 2, 2020

Restaurants across the country have started opening their doors again, but patrons should not expect the same pre-pandemic dining experience. Enhanced and increased sanitization practices, lower capacity, and masked waiters are some of the many changes your favorite restaurants have likely implemented to keep customers and employees safe upon reopening. Even though restaurants are adopting new policies and procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are still steps diners need to take to stay safe and healthy. If you’re considering venturing out to grab a bite to eat, keep these tips in mind.
  1. Before dining out, check the restaurant’s COVID-19 policies & procedures.
    Most restaurants post their updated policies on their websites or social media accounts. Review the steps the restaurant is exercising to keep its patrons safe and healthy and compare the restaurant’s policies to those recommended by your local health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If the new policies are not available online, call the restaurant and speak to a manager.
  2. Don’t forget your mask.
    Depending on where you live, and the restaurant’s policies, wearing a face-covering may be required. Even if it is not a requirement, experts recommend wearing a mask when less than six feet apart from other individuals or when indoors. Remove the mask while you eat your meal, but keep it on at all other times while you’re away from home.
  3. Opt for the outdoor patio.
    The CDC recommends choosing a table that is outside when dining out. Tables should still be properly spaced outside, with at least six feet between each table.
  4. Avoid shared spaces and utensils.
    A good rule of thumb is to refrain from touching any object - like a menu, check folio, or door handle - that will be touched by other people. You may also want to steer clear of shared spaces where people congregate - like salad bars, buffets, or drink stations.
  5. Use the touchless pay option when available.
    In the interest of everyone’s health, many establishments have switched to credit card only touchless pay options. Seek out restaurants that offer touchless pay, and plan to pay for your meal by credit card. ATMs, credit card machines, and cash are more likely to have an excess of germs, so avoid using those when possible.
  6. Wash your hands.
    Washing your hands is still the best defense against the coronavirus, but hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) is a good and convenient alternative. Bring your hand sanitizer to the restaurant and use it when you arrive and after you leave. When you return home, wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.

Keep these guidelines in mind when you are dining out to help ensure the health and safety of yourself and those around you.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.