With Restaurants Re-Opening During the Covid Pandemic, Many Patrons Want to Know, “Is Food Safe?”
Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, one question that consumers want to know is: Is it safe to eat food from restaurants? The answer to this question is a bit more involved than a “yes” or “no.” The answer relies on each individual restaurant, as well as the local guidelines put into place. It is important to know the local guidelines for restaurants, and to know how each restaurant is responding to COVID-19, in order for consumers to determine if eating out is a reasonable risk to take.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has laid out many recommendations for restaurants to keep in mind when reopening. Consumers may want to reference these recommendations when choosing a restaurant to eat at, or get take-out from. Firstly, customers should look at whether a restaurant is solely doing carry-out, outdoor seating, dine-in with social distancing, or doing dine-in at full capacity. The CDC outlines four levels of risk according to the various dining options. The CDC also explains that COVID-19 is most often spread through droplets that are released when a person talks, coughs, or sneezes – which can be spread to surfaces, and transferred to or from hands to the nose or mouth. A key to preventing the possible transmission of droplets possibly contaminated with COVID-19 onto food, is requiring all employees to stay home when appropriate, wear a face covering while on duty, use proper hand hygiene, provide satisfactory supplies to employees, and use signs to ensure customers are following safety guidelines.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provides a re-opening checklist for restaurants and bars in order to ensure that the food and environment is both safe and healthy for its customers and employees. While all of these guidelines and resources are provided for the health and safety of all, it is important to remember that the implementation of these may or may not be followed by every restaurant, so it is important for the consumer to investigate each restaurant’s procedures for re-opening during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and whether or not they are following safety protocols.
As stated by national food poisoning lawyer, Tony Coveny Ph. D.,
“Wherever each person lands, safety must be the common ground. Especially now, with an unprecedented health crisis on our hands, we need to take care of each other.”