Restaurant Risk: What to consider before going out to eat

U.S. & World

(NBC) – Many restaurants may be open for dine-in but how comfortable do you feel about going to one? What are the risks you need to consider?

“There are a few things to think about. One is just if you could eat outdoors, that’s going to be safer than indoors and with the nice weather right now, there are some restaurants with outdoor seating,” says Dr. Preeti Malani, Chief Health Officer with the University of Michigan.

If you can’t eat outdoors, you need to look at how effectively the restaurant is maintaining that social distance, she adds.

“How open does it feel? Does it feel like it’s too crowded? In that case, it probably is.”

Check to see if the staff is following the recommended rules.

“Some of the restaurants have come forth and put out statements saying these are all the different things we’re doing to keep you safe. So certainly, take a look at that. You can also look at what the other diners are doing. Obviously, if you’re eating you can’t wear a mask yourself but are other people around you, including those who are serving your food and walking you to your table, Are they wearing masks?” Dr. Malani asks.

But understand, dining in is not the best idea for everyone.

“For folks that really are not comfortable eating out, curbside pickup and delivery options are going to be there. And that would be my suggestion for people, especially those who fall under high risk categories,” said Dr. Malani.

There was an outbreak in China that was traced back to a restaurant with no windows and poor ventilation where the air conditioning system is believed to have spread the virus amongst the diners, even to those seated farther than six feet apart.

The bottom line is, Dr. Malani says every activity we do will carry some level of risk. It’s up to each of us to decide what level of risk is acceptable.

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