Other than affecting lives, the rise of COVID-19 also affected a lot of businesses, particularly the ones that involve food services, like restaurants. But since the start of the pandemic, governments around the world have come up with different restaurant guidelines for COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the virus. Can you get COVID-19 in restaurants? Let’s find out.
Can you get COVID-19 in restaurants? COVID-19 and food services
Since the start of the pandemic, the Philippine government has encouraged its citizens to stay at home to prevent further transmission of the virus. To make this possible, a lot of establishments halted their operations to discourage everyone from going out.
One of the industries that were forced to close down during these times is food services or restaurants. After the strict community quarantine, some food businesses began to offer their services again, but with strict regulations.
Restaurants operate in limited hours and can only provide take-out and delivery services for their customers. Just recently, these establishments are now permitted to accept customers inside their premises at 100% capacity.
However, a lot of people are still unsure if it’s safe enough for them to eat out.
Can you get COVID-19 in restaurants?
Even though quarantine guidelines are quite lenient nowadays, there are still people who are still anxious about going outside.
Although food businesses are now accepting customers inside their establishment, there are still some who are unsure if this is safe.
A lot of news has been circulating worldwide about superspreaders who can affect multiple people by just being on the same premises at the same time. This is what concerns these people the most.
But can you get COVID-19 in restaurants just by “dining in” and sitting outside of the food premises? The answer can be both yes and no.
Yes, for the fact that the virus is airborne and by just walking outside your home, you’ll most likely get exposed to the virus.
You can also be in close contact with asymptomatic people who carry the virus without showing any visible symptoms.
Also, the virus can be present in common surfaces for days, which means when you’re outside, there is a possibility that the surfaces you’re touching are contaminated.
On the other hand, there is a lesser risk for you to contract the virus if you’re following strict safety and disinfection guidelines whenever you step outside, and once you come home.
Also, you may reduce your risk of acquiring the virus if the restaurant you’re visiting is implementing COVID-19 prevention practices.
Can you get COVID-19 in restaurants through the food?
Since the coronavirus is a respiratory disease, it can only be transmissible through respiratory droplets. Thus, it is unlikely for people to get the virus from food and food containers.
Also, there are still no known cases of respiratory diseases, especially coronaviruses, that can be contracted through food and food packaging.
Restaurant guidelines for COVID-19
Aside from the no mask, no entry policy, according to the Department of Trade and Industry, here are the guidelines restaurants and food chains must observe now that they’re allowed to offer dine-in services in GCQ (general community quarantine) areas:
Health evaluation form and health check at the entrance.
Before entering the food establishment, a service crew or staff must inform the customer to fill out a health evaluation form. The health evaluation form is a way for the restaurant to know if the customer is not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
It also makes contact tracing more doable if ever one of the customers or staff have contracted the virus. A crew must also check the customer’s temperature, making sure that it’s no more than 37.5℃.
Restaurants can refuse to service customers with high body temperature and are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Physical distancing and contactless service
Physical distancing is still mandatory in all public places, including food establishments. Customers must follow marking where they can stand and wait for their turn to order.
The register counter must have a barrier that separates the customer and the staff. Other restaurants will get the customer’s order right away, and some give out numbers and instruct their patrons to wait until its their turn.
After ordering, the customer must place the payment in a tray near the counter to avoid physical contact.
Restaurants can offer dine-in services if the observe the following conditions:
- One meter distance between the chairs and tables.
- Customers can sit at one table if they observe proper social distancing.
- Face-to-face dining is possible if there are dividers the separates the customers.
No self-service policy
To avoid surface contamination, DTI restricts restaurants from putting up self-service corners for condiments and utensils. Also, buffet restaurants still do not have permission to operate at this moment.
Although restaurants still accept cash payments, they encourage customers to use cashless payment methods when paying for their meals.
Besides all of these, restaurant staff must also wear the proper equipment when serving food, such as a face mask, face shield, gloves, and hair cap. Crew members must also undergo COVID testing every now and then to ensure their safety.
Restaurant staff that shows symptoms of the virus must not come to work and must consult a doctor immediately.
Guidelines for dine-in customers
If you’re dining-in at a restaurant, you must:
- Always wear your mask when not eating or drinking.
- Wash or sanitize your hand before entering the premises, before touching any surfaces, before and after eating and drinking, and once you leave the restaurant.
- Maintain physical distance, especially from people you do not live with. If outside seating is advisable, it is best to eat your meal there, so you can stay away from closed spaces.
- After eating out, make sure to disinfect yourself right away once you get home.
Although different food establishments are following strict sanitation protocols to ensure the safety of their customers, at the end of the day, the best way to deflect the rising numbers of covid transmission is by staying at home.
It is okay to go out every once in a while for your sanity. But, as much as possible, stay at home when not doing any essential activities to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.