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12 Dos and Don’ts for Avoiding Germs at Restaurants

When you're ready to venture out to your favorite local spot, help protect yourself and your family with these restaurant health tips.

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people seated outdoorsMEDIAMASMEDIA/GETTY IMAGES

Do sit outside

Summer is alfresco dining season, so take advantage of those warm rays by opting for an outdoor table. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend choosing restaurants that offer outdoor seating with tables spaced six feet apart from one another for a less risky dining experience. This allows for better air circulation and less chance of being exposed to COVID-19. If you don’t want to risk going to a restaurant, here’s how to safely enjoy takeout during coronavirus.

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waitress holding pad and penANDRESR/GETTY IMAGES

Don’t use their pen

When heading out to dinner, grab a pen for signing the bill before leaving your house. Touching restaurant items like pens and door handles can put you at risk for coming in contact with germs. Do your best to avoid touching any extra items and wipe down your pen with an antibacterial wipe when you get home.

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masked order pickupHALBERGMAN/GETTY IMAGES

Do wear a mask

Even if your local restaurant has planned for social distancing, it’s not always possible to stay six feet away from others. Wear a mask to the restaurant and keep it on until you’re ready to eat or drink.

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restaurant worker measuringPHOTO BETO/GETTY IMAGES

Don’t get too close to other diners

As much as we love them, this isn’t the time for community dining tables or church suppers. When dining out, it’s crucial to continue following social distancing guidelines and stay six to ten feet from others. If you’re unsure if you’ll be able to keep a safe distance, call the restaurant and ask about their policy.

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Do wash your hands

You’d think we’d be tired of this advice by now but it’s just too important not to mention. Washing your hands properly is one of the most effective ways to stay healthy. Do so before leaving the house and when you get home. If you have a small bottle of hand sanitizer, bring it with you to use at your table before eating. Many restaurants are providing them for customers, too. These are the things you need to clean after returning from the outside world.

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man using laptop in a cafeMARTIN-DM/GETTY IMAGES

Don’t linger at your table

Once you’re finished enjoying your meal, head home for one of our tasty quarantine baking recipes. The longer you’re out in public, the greater your chance of being exposed to coronavirus. If you’re not ready to end the night just yet, take a walk or drive around a new neighborhood for a change of scenery. Here’s why you should be baking your way all through quarantine.

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woman flipping sign to "open"RICHLEGG/GETTY IMAGES

Do follow the restaurant’s rules

As more businesses start to reopen, they’re working closely with local health departments and following CDC guidelines. The safety rules may vary by restaurant, with some establishments requiring masks and others not. Take a peek at their website or Facebook page so you know what to expect before arriving. Here’s how your favorite restaurant may change after coronavirus.

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Don’t go out if you’re feeling sick

If you’ve been feeling under the weather, postpone your night on the town. You can still enjoy carryout with a no-contact delivery option to tide you over until you’re back to feeling healthy.

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woman working in a restaurant kitchenSTOCKSTUDIOX/GETTY IMAGES

Do pay with a credit card

Protect yourself and your server from extra germs by paying with your credit card when the bill arrives. Cash has touched countless hands, so using a credit card is simpler; you can even wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe when you arrive home.

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masked diners101CATS/GETTY IMAGES

Don’t bring a large group

Save your big birthday celebration for your family’s weekly Zoom call; eating out right now is safest with the people who live in your home. If you’ve been craving more together time with extended family and friends, schedule phone calls or host a virtual wine tasting.

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couple at an outdoor tableODD ANDERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

Do avoid touching extra items

We know coronavirus germs can live on surfaces, so do your best to avoid touching common areas like doorknobs, menus, or the bar. Check out the menu online before going to the restaurant and, as we mentioned, be sure to wash your hands before eating, and once you arrive home.

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woman posting a sign in the windowKANAWA_STUDIO/GETTY IMAGES

Don’t forget that you can still get carryout

While these tips can make dining out less risky, eating at a restaurant can’t be considered 100 percent safe for the time being. Until you’re ready to get out in public more, enjoy all of your restaurant faves with carryout or delivery.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Carrie Madormo
Carrie Madormo is a business and wellness writer for internationally-recognized publications. Her writing has been featured in Working Mother, USA Today, and the Huffington Post. As a former nurse, Madormo loves to translate complex health studies into engaging content. She is passionate about empowering readers to live their best lives by taking control of their health.