Dining During The Time Of Coronavirus; Do’s & Don’ts Of Eating Out.

The rapid spread of deadly COVID-19 has been giving us nightmares. As of now, Sri Lanka has 28 confirmed cases (03/17/2020), and unfortunately, it does not seem like it is going to stop, or slow down any time soon.
 
There has been a number of steps taken by the Sri Lankan government and authorities to reduce the escalation of COVID-19; suspension of on arrival visa, imposing travel restrictions, urging self-quarantine methods, pausing driving licence services, one-day NIC issuing facilities, and more. Many public places, including schools, museums, botanical gardens, and national parks have been temporarily closed down too, to obstruct public gatherings and events. With companies in the private sector offering working from home facilities to their employees, the citizens are given the opportunity to stay home as much as they can to lower the risk of encountering the virus, or spreading it to someone else. 
 
Even going to public places like restaurants is highly discouraged, but eventually, there can be a situation that you have no choice but to go out to grab a meal. In such cases, you should be well-aware of what you can do to limit your contact with others.
 
(But seriously, if it's in any way possible, please stay at home.)

Wash Your Hands, Always!

Your number one priority these days, no matter where you are. Hand hygiene is quite crucial in reducing the risk of spreading Coronavirus and make sure you do it with soap, or at least by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's absolutely necessary to practice this habit before you eat at the restaurant, or after touching any surface; from menus, doorknobs and tables to chairs, cutlery and tissue holders, and using the washroom because there's no telling which one of them could be potentially contaminated.

Check For Restaurants That Take This Very Seriously

When the first few local cases of COVID-19 emerged in Sri Lanka, a lot of restaurants in the country started to strengthen their food safety measures to prevent and mitigate the spreading of Coronavirus; which we observed through their social media pages. Before walking into the restaurant, do a bit of research and get to know about these mechanisms. And if you still have any doubts, do not hesitate to call them up and inquire about it.

Avoid Peak Hours

This is a time to practise social distancing, but if you cannot avoid going to a restaurant, the least you can do is to avoid peak hours. For example, rice & curry spots get packed with customers during lunchtime, while bars and pubs tend to have high foot traffic in the evenings. Drop by in an odd hour so you do not have to sit at close proximity to the other diners.

Keep Away From Buffets

Feasting to your heart's content with all kinds of food at a buffet is every foodie's dream, but unfortunately, this is not the best time for it, my friend. Buffets are usually self-serve, so the cutlery and utensils available there are used by multiple people and therefore can be easily contaminated with the virus. On the other hand, standing in a buffet queue is not exactly social distancing. 

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cutlery)

Despite the number of safety measures taken by the restaurant to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, bringing a well-cleaned spoon/fork from home is always a safe option. 

Say No To Sharing

Sharing is caring, but not during this pandemic. If you care at all, you should not share food, drinks, cutlery or utensils with each other, no matter how joyful it is to dine in family style.
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