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Eating Out in the New Normal: 6 Things to Keep in Mind - go!
Travel & Food

Thinking of Eating Out? Here Are 6 Things to Keep in Mind

Also consider: do you really have to eat out?

While staying safe at home is still ideal during quarantine, it’s normal to want to revisit a favorite pastime like dining out. Acting on this desire raises a lot of questions, though, relating to risks, safety, health and exposure. It is for this reason that eating out in the new normal comes with its own set of rules. And it’s best to follow them to make sure you, your company and those around you stay safe and in good health (again, that’s if you absolutely have to dine in at a restaurant or café).

Here, we break down things to consider, the important items to bring and pointers that touch on new normal etiquette.

Explore takeout or home delivery.

The shift to home deliveries and swift takeout systems are just two of the convenient adjustments made by those in the food industry. These are two services you could take advantage of instead—especially because the offerings have expanded considerably over the last eight months. Miss your Samgyupsal nights? Some of the crowd favorites already deliver. Thinking of restocking your home bar? Liquor home delivery is another way to take the edge off in the new normal. And of course, there’s a lot more to discover on FoodPanda and GrabFood, which present you with the option to pick up your food or have it delivered.

Bring an additional disposable face mask or an extra reusable face mask.

The face mask is one of the items you should never leave home without. Still, bringing a spare is a good habit that a lot have not picked up just yet. If you make frequent and long trips out of your home, make sure to leave at least two extra face masks (sealed in individual packaging) in one of your bag compartments. The extra will come in handy for instances like dining out. Because remember: re-wearing already used face masks is a no-no.

Pick an al fresco location if it’s available.

When it comes to navigating public spaces in a pandemic, it’s about location, location, location. While the number of persons sharing the same space is important, it isn’t the only factor to think about. Your surrounding environment itself has a lot to do with levels of exposure. With that, it’s worth noting that the risk of contamination decreases drastically in outdoor spaces. So dine outside, where there is ventilation and unrestrained air flow, if this is at all an option.

Know that you’re better off pointing out your orders on a menu.

The airborne transmission of COVID-19 is now a known fact. And since this revelation, those undetected droplets that get suspended in the air (or get propelled from a person’s nose and mouth) have become a point of focus. Sneezing and coughing aren’t the only things, however, that cause this “spraying.” Talking and laughing produce these droplets, too, which is why it’s best to keep verbal interaction to a minimum while outside. When interacting with your server, use gestures instead. Point to the menu items when ordering, and make the check sign when asking for the bill.

Do not overstay.

It’s not that you aren’t welcome to stay as long as you’d like. In general, it’s best not to linger in a single location for longer than an hour. Several restaurants may be operational again, but remember that dining out is still considered a high-risk activity. The shorter your stay at the resto (and out of your home, for that matter), the better. So once you’re through with your meal, pay, then get going.

Leave a generous tip.

Tipping not only reflects gratitude and manners, but doubles as a show of support during this trying time. Tipping generously is one way you can rally behind the local economy and those responsible of moving it along. The amount to tip is, of course, up to you. But over-tipping, knowing you yourself are financially secure, is a great gesture. For dine-in experiences, gun for 25% of your total bill pre-tax. For takeout orders, a nice 20% of your total bill pre-tax would definitely be appreciated. 

It comes as no surprise that the simple act of sharing a meal has done a lot to strengthen social bonds (and it’s understandable to miss this). Know, though, that there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your time at home and still connect with the people you love. Discover more here.

Art Matthew Fetalver

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