We all get tired of eating at home and feeling cooped up. We know that everyone is eager to get out of the house and back to normal activities. One of those activities many of us have missed is going out to your favorite restaurant for a delicious meal (that you didn't have to make!)
With restaurants opening up again for dine-in service at limited capacity, you may be thinking of taking a trip out. But is going out to eat safe for seniors, or should older adults steer clear of the restaurant scene for now?
While seniors are part of what is considered a high-risk populations as it relates to the effects of COVID-19, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need to stay in their homes until a vaccine is available. Restaurants, in particular, are likely to be a fairly low-risk place for seniors to visit. As a baseline, food service establishments are held to higher standards of cleanliness, sanitization, and other health precautions than most other businesses. Because of COVID-19, those standards have been ratcheted up to the next level.
Of course, there are still precautions seniors should take if they are thinking about spending an hour or two out at their favorite restaurant. If you don’t feel well, skip the restaurant trip (and consider contacting your healthcare provider instead). While you are out in public, wear a mask to minimize your chances of contracting the virus or getting someone else sick. At the restaurant, you’ll want to keep the mask on while entering the business, interacting with the host or hostess, and getting seated. Once you are seated at your table, you can remove the mask for your meal, but put it back on before you go. Finally, make sure to wash or sanitize your hands before eating!
Before you venture out, remember because of the capacity limitations, restaurants can’t accommodate as many people as they could before the pandemic. Walk-ins especially may be difficult, so consider calling ahead and making a reservation to ensure the best experience possible. Weekdays may also be less crowded than weekends.
Our last piece of advice? Tip generously! Restaurants are struggling right now, and many of their employees have been off work for months. One great tip can make a waiter's day!