Dining during a pandemic

For many people, being able to enjoy a family dinner or date night out on the town has restored some sense of normality during these difficult times. Of course, the COVID-19 virus is still a significant issue in our nation, so it’s smart to take precautions if you plan to dine out. We have some tips to help you enjoy a safe and enjoyable dining experience.

How Do I Know If Restaurants Are Open in My Area?

Many restaurants have had to close or modify their hours or the services they offer, so you may need to do a little digging to see whether restaurants in your area are open. Make sure you do the following:

  1. Consider state and local regulations: In some areas, restaurants must abide by state-wide restrictions or local ordinances that dictate whether they can open. Follow reliable government websites and news sources to see what state-, county- and city-level regulations are at play for restaurants in your area.
  2. Check restaurants’ status online: Even if your state or local area is allowing restaurants to open, that doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurants you want to patronize are open. Check restaurants’ websites, social media pages and online listings to see if they’re open for takeout, delivery or dine-in.
  3. Call restaurants to clarify if needed: If you’re not sure whether a restaurant you want to visit is open for business or whether their hours have changed, it’s wise to call to verify they are open before traveling to the restaurant.

How Should I Prepare to Go to a Restaurant?

If you’re planning to enjoy a dine-in experience at a restaurant, make sure you prepare properly so you can enjoy a safe and positive experience:

  1. Bring a mask: Some local governments are requiring people to wear masks in public. Even if this is not the case in your area, the restaurant you plan to visit may require masks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urges all Americans to wear masks when they are in public. Also bring a clean container, like a paper bag, to store your mask in while you’re eating.
  2. Make a reservation: Since many restaurants have limited their capacity by closing off certain tables, showing up without a reservation during peak hours may mean you have to wait a while for a table. If the restaurant takes reservations, call ahead to make one. Otherwise, you may want to visit during an off-time when the restaurant is likely to be less busy.
  3. Check the weather: Some restaurants are only seating diners outside on their patio, and other restaurants are using their indoor and outdoor seating to help distance people. If you plan to sit outside, check the weather before you go to the restaurant to make sure you’ll be comfortable.

What Type of Seating Arrangement Is the Safest?

Restaurants open for dine-in are finding ways to help their customers stay safe. The CDC suggests that restaurants consider modifying their layout if needed to allow for social distancing. This means being spaced 6 feet apart. If a restaurant seats you at a table that is closer to other diners than you are comfortable with, let them know you would prefer a table that is more isolated.

Optimal seating arrangement during COVID-19

You can also ask to be seated on the patio if the restaurant has outdoor seating. The CDC recommends prioritizing patio seating whenever possible. Outdoor seating tables 6 feet apart or more offer the safest option for diners who are concerned about being exposed to the virus from other diners.

How Can I Keep Myself and the Restaurant Staff Safe?

You can do several things to promote safety for yourself and others when you go to your favorite restaurant. Be sure you do the following:

  1. Stay home if you are sick: First, if you’re feeling under the weather, you should stay home. If you’ve contracted COVID-19, you don’t want to take a chance on passing that on to other diners or restaurant staff.
  2. Wear your mask: You can’t wear a mask while eating, of course, but you and the rest of your party can still protect others in the restaurant by wearing masks until you get to your table. You may even want to leave your mask on until after your waiter has taken your order.
  3. Social distance: Be mindful of how close you are standing to other people while waiting for a table or walking through the restaurant. Social distancing is a helpful way to lessen the risk of passing the virus onto others or being exposed to it.
  4. Practice good hand hygiene: Hand hygiene is also an important way to avoid spreading pathogens. Rather than wearing gloves, simply wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after entering into the restaurant, before eating,  and when you get home.
  5. Be gracious: Finally, remember that this is a challenging time for restaurant staff as they deal with ongoing changes and seek to find the best ways to keep you and others safe. Give an extra measure of understanding and graciousness to your restaurant staff as they serve you.

How Can I Use the Restaurant Bathroom Safely?

If you need to use the restroom while you’re at a restaurant, there are a few things you should make sure you do or avoid to keep yourself and others safe:

  1. Wear your mask: As with other areas of the restaurants where you may be closer to others, the bathroom is a place where you may want to wear your mask. The exception is if you’re using a single-occupancy restroom.
  2. Wash your hands: Washing hands remains an important way to remove pathogens from your hands. Make sure you wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, per the CDC guidelines. Alternatively, you can use hand sanitizer.
  3. Avoid congregating: If a single-occupancy restroom or all the stalls in a larger restroom are occupied, avoid the common practice of standing closely with others in a line. Instead, distance yourself 6 feet away from others if possible while you wait.

Enjoy a Safe and Satisfying Dining Experience at USS Nemo

If you live near Naples, Florida, or are enjoying a vacation in the area, we invite you to enjoy lunch or dinner at USS Nemo. As a fine-dining seafood restaurant on Florida’s Gulf Coast, we offer exceptionally fresh and delicious seafood dishes. We are also proud to offer a clean, safe and beautiful environment where our diners can enjoy an amazing meal free of worry during this challenging time. The whole family will enjoy their experience at USS Nemo. Book your reservation online today.

Dining safely during COVID-19 at USS Nemo