It Is Not a Good Idea to Reopen Restaurants

Students+in+quarantine+getting+ready+to+order+a+meal+for+the+day.

Photo by Jessica Landin

Students in quarantine getting ready to order a meal for the day.

Restaurants. Everybody loves and misses them from Denny’s Grand Slam to California Pizza Kitchen’s Original BBQ Pizza. We may have cravings but, right now, opening restaurants in the U.S. is not a good idea.

The state of California is behind state goals on testing and statistics for COVID-19 related deaths. So tell me why it’s a good idea to open the very places where patrons gather to eat with utensils that many other people use too.

Restaurants will not be able to seat and serve guests at full capacity and customers and servers will have to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Granted, restaurants have to meet a certain criteria and follow guidelines to stay open. However, will people follow those guidelines?

We’ve seen it before. Not even a month ago, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that beaches would open, but that was short lived as people were not heeding to the social distancing order and hundreds of people piled onto the beach. Many people never even took the stay at home order and coronavirus seriously in the first place.

Even if customers do follow orders, how do you eat with a mask? Do you constantly remove it and put it back on before and after every bite? A face covering is pointless if you have to constantly take it off and expose your nose and mouth. The whole point of the mask is so the wearer doesn’t exhale germs into the air for others to breathe in. Not to mention that you would have to touch your face more, the very thing the CDC recommends you don’t do.

Dining in at restaurants is not even necessarily something people have to do in the first place. Most restaurants are already open for takeout and delivery. People will not go hungry without dining in.

Grocery stores are still open and you can still get takeout, curbside pickup and delivery if you must. It may not be ideal, as eating out with friends and family has been such a cherished thing for decades, but would you rather be safe at home or have a 7oz steak that you have to send back because it wasn’t cooked to your specific instruction?

Taking your family out to a restaurant is nice, but it doesn’t come close to the sentimental value of  home cooked meals or barbecues in the backyard.

A recent Japanese experiment where in a group of 10 people, one man coated his hands with a substance only a blacklight could see which resembled germs from a cough. After 30 minutes, the blacklight was turned on and everything he had touched and everyone who had touched those things after him were covered with the invisible substance.

It is understandable that restaurant employees need to work and have a steady income too. The U.S. cannot stay completely shut down but, right now, dining in at restaurants can wait.

When it comes to the coronavirus, the United States is quickly following in the footsteps of China. This may not be such a good thing. Recent outbreaks in Wuhan, China, the heart of the pandemic has prompted fear of a second wave.

Between having to follow strict guidelines and the whole restaurant experience being not the same as it used to be, are you really willing to risk your health and the health of those around you for a bite to eat?