Protect Yourself While Eating Out!

A neon OPEN sign glowing red in the window of a restaurant.College of DuPage Nursing Student Jhenevie Oca shared with Healthy Lombard that  COVID-19 has changed the daily routine for many people. While the safest thing to do during this unprecedented time would be to stay at home, it can be difficult to completely avoid going out. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself in a restaurant or while grocery shopping.


Plan your trip ahead of time. 

Eating out is a luxury that many people take for granted. While it is necessary to take precautions to prevent exposure to the virus, Yelp! has a wonderful app for efficiency when planning your next trip to a restaurant. Through the app or website domain, the viewer can see the  “COVID-19 Updates” at each restaurant. The restaurant may list all the precautions they are taking. Some examples may include electronic QR menus, contactless payments, mask requirements, etc. Many restaurants will also list if they are available for indoor seating, outdoor seating only, or takeout only. Also, a critical advantage to using this app are the reviews from the customers themselves. Many reviews list their experience and will be honest about how well the restaurant abides by COVID-19 guidelines. Since there are no profits gained from this review, the viewer is able to get an accurate idea of how well the restaurant is really doing.


Curbside pickup

Fortunately, many stores and restaurants have made curbside pickup available. This is beneficial for those who are still anxious about going into public places, or those that are immunocompromised and would like to lessen their exposure. This is especially helpful when grocery shopping. Many large grocery stores like Walmart, Target, Jewel-Osco, and others provide the option to shop online and opt for curbside pickup. Simply adding all of the selected items to your virtual cart, setting a pickup time or reservation, and then placing your order is all that is required to get your groceries. Upon arrival, someone from the store will bring your items to your car to make the experience exposure-free.

Go at a reasonable hour

Regardless of how many precautions a restaurant may take, most of the time the amount of people allowed in a room is not regulated. With that being said, while some restaurants require a reservation for indoor seating, most outdoor seating is given on a first-come first-serve basis. Despite claims that seating is six feet apart, there may still be a crowd of people. According to the Centers of Disease Control, masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Of course, when a person is eating they will not be wearing a mask. This increases the risk of exposure as people may be talking, coughing, and sneezing without their mask on. It may be best to avoid the crowds by going out at times that are less busy. Perhaps it is best to limit going out between two hours prior to rush hour through two hours after.




COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2020, from




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