JWU professors, like students, are experiencing the “new normal” during the global pandemic, COVID-19. In this series, we’ll explore how they are navigating their day-to-day, both inside and outside the online classroom, and their observations of the world.
We are now ten months deep into the COVID-19 pandemic and recent data suggests the end is still a ways away. However, that is no reason not to order food from your favorite restaurant. If anything good has come out of this global crisis, it is the fact that our restaurants and food chains are safer than ever. Not only are they safe to eat in, but they are safe to have food delivered from.
The pandemic has overwhelmingly recharged the food safety guidelines and cleanliness of your local restaurants. Tables, chairs, booths, walls, and all other high-touch points—pretty much anything that won’t get out of the way—are being cleaned and sanitized several times a day. In most cases, this occurs every time a guest leaves the establishment.
So how do we stay safe by going out for a meal? Simple: Follow the rules set out by the CDC. Listen to the science. Wear a mask or face covering, and stay home if you have any symptoms. Wash your hands regularly, and stay with the people in your bubble. These rules seem simple enough to understand and, for the safety of the people around you, they need to be followed.
Common COVID Questions
I know there are a lot of questions out there when it comes to COVID and food safety. Here are a few I hear all of the time and some simple answers:
What if my hands don’t look dirty?
You can’t see bacteria. And when you can’t see it, you can spread it.
What if I don’t want to wear a mask?
Please stay home. It is not that we don’t want you in our restaurant, but again just like not being able to see bacteria, we can’t tell that your slight runny nose or watery eyes is in fact allergies and not COVID or some other highly transmitted illness. We want you to be safe while we keep our other guests and our employees safe.
What if I can’t wear a mask?
Please stay home. For those people who do have a legitimate illness that prevents them from wearing a mask, the act of you not wearing a mask may be putting them more at risk. This group that is unable to wear masks for health reasons is vulnerable and needs to be protected the most.
What if my watery eyes and runny nose really are seasonal allergies?
The best practice is always to stay home. Yes, these symptoms are harmless; however, your body may shed additional bacteria in your mucus that could be highly contagious to others without affecting you.
What if washing my hands causes dry skin?
This is a real thing and, with the winter, it tends to happen more frequently. But washing your hands is the best way to keep the bacteria off of you and minimizes your ability to spread it wherever you go.
Can I use hand sanitizer instead?
Simple answer: Yes. When you are not near proper handwashing facilities, hand sanitizers will kill any bacteria on you and will help prevent the spread of any bacteria that may have been on your hands. However, it should not replace hand washing.
If I must do all these things, does every restaurant employee have to do them too?
The answer is a resounding YES! Again, the best thing to come out of this pandemic is the fact that the entire food chain has retrained all their employees in safety protocols. These protocols include the proper wearing of masks, when to wear gloves and when to change them, the importance and timeliness of washing hands, as well as the deep cleaning of both the kitchen and the dining room.
Rest assured, the industry is safe, the food is safe, and the delivery is safe. So, go out for a meal or have a meal delivered. As long as everyone continues to follow the rules, the industry too shall survive and come out of this stronger than ever.