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Focus on Health

January 2021

Hungry for Normalcy? How to (Safely) Satisfy Your Cravings

Is your oven working overtime? Thanks to the pandemic, homemade meals are trending. But it’s tempting to get out and let someone else take over every once in a while. If you choose to indulge in your favorite restaurant fare, here’s how to lower the risk.

Dine out (literally)

First, the good news: There isn’t any evidence that COVID-19 spreads by handling or eating food. The bad news? It’s being in close quarters with others that causes the number of cases to soar. To help, choose outdoor dining spaces whenever possible. The airflow greatly reduces risk for virus transmission.

Stay vigilant

After months of being cooped up, it’s no wonder we are ready to get back to normal. But now is not the time to let down your guard. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before sitting down to dine and again when you leave. Wear a mask as much as possible when not eating or drinking. And don’t be embarrassed to call ahead and make sure the restaurant is following strict safety standards.

Embrace the QR codes

No, seriously, they’re back. Many restaurants are using scannable QR codes so that you can access the menu from the convenience of your phone. One less thing to touch on the table! Also, choose single-use items rather than shared containers for things like condiments. And when it comes to paying your bill, opt for a cashless option.

Take it home

Chances are, you aren’t a stranger to take-out food. And while it’s safer than in-person dining, you may be itching for something new. To mix things up, forgo eating in front of the television and set a fancy table at home. Or take your food to a park. Try a few restaurants you normally wouldn’t think of for carryout—even upscale eateries are making it easy.

Lend support

Restaurants need our support now more than ever. But ordering food isn’t the only way you can help. To show your local businesses some love, buy gift cards to use later. Write a positive review online. Or, if you can, consider tipping a little extra.

Filtering through the claims

Certain restaurants are taking extra safety precautions by using air purifiers or disinfection devices. But do they really make a difference? Yes, say experts. These systems have been shown to help protect against COVID-19. But don’t throw away those masks. While the purifiers offer added protection for people dining indoors—a high-risk activity—they aren’t a replacement for other proven safety steps.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2020
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.