Students, staff should take necessary safety precautions when dining outdoors

As the rate of COVID-19 cases in California declines, more restaurants are reopening with the use of safety measures to ensure the safety of both customers and employees. As shelter-in-place has eradicated our social lives, many crave the sensation of going outside and enjoying the fresh air.

Let’s face it: we all love going to our favorite restaurants when the weather is nice, and enjoying a satisfying meal with the company of friends and family is the perfect way to get in some much-needed quality time. Since the air quality has reached a healthy range and the afternoons aren’t extremely cold yet, it seems like the perfect time to do so. As of June, both California and University avenues have closed to cars to allow restaurants the choice to extend outdoor seating onto the streets. As a result, restaurants are able to continue serving the community and ensuring the safety of customers as they enforce proper social distancing guidelines, such as maintaining six feet between tables. 

Although some restaurants are taking the necessary safety precautions, it’s still essential for individuals to be extremely cautious. If planning on eating out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends calling in advance to ensure the restaurant is taking the proper precautions against COVID-19, wearing a mask until the food arrives and maintaining social distancing protocols. Also, try to limit the contact of items touched by multiple people such as handles, buttons, touchscreens and menus.

While it’s incredibly tempting to break quarantine guidelines as life outside begins to flourish, it’s key to understand that there is still a risk of contracting COVID-19 even if both you and the restaurant are following all the mandatory procedures. When restaurants fail to follow proper sanitation measures, social distancing and mask-usage, it can easily become a dangerous place for customers and staff: germs will undoubtedly spread, and transmission rates will increase. Keep in mind, some restaurants also serve upwards of a hundred people per day. Tables may not be properly wiped down, and individuals may come into contact with germs from those who sat at their table last. Thus, it’s imperative to recognize the harms of dining in, as contracting COVID-19 has long lasting effects on respiratory health and can spread to families and friends. 

If you decide to eat out, always be prepared to ensure both you and the restaurant follow the proper CDC guidelines: six feet distance between each table, usage of masks and proper sanitation in between customers parties. If you feel sick, stay home, monitor your symptoms, wash your hands frequently and separate yourself from others.