Lockdown restrictions are easing but that doesn’t mean dining out is risk-free. Here’s how you can stay safe while eating at your favourite restaurants.

After months of COVID-19-induced lockdown, most of us are pretty keen to stop cooking for ourselves and get back into restaurants. But until the virus is eliminated or there’s a vaccine, doing so comes with risks. The question is, how do we minimise those risks and stay as safe as we possibly can when eating out?

Keep your distance

Adhering to social distancing requirements, such as staying 1.5 metres away from others where possible, is still one of the most important ways to stop the spread of the virus.

In a restaurant setting, this means staying seated at your table and ordering through your waiter instead of loitering at the bar, as well as being aware of any other requirements each restaurant may have set.

Keep it clean

This means washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitizer, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, avoiding touching your face and so on. It’s also good to check that the restaurant you’re eating out in is properly wiping down and sanitizing tables in between guests.

Providing the plates, utensils, glassware and table napkins are clean, you don’t need to worry about using or requesting disposable versions – regular cleaning is enough to inactivate the virus in the unlikely event it finds its way onto any of those things.  

Keep the COVIDSAFE App turned on

Download the Australian Government’s COVIDSAFE tracking app and make sure it’s turned on whenever you’re outside your home; including when you’re out for dinner at a restaurant.

The restaurant will also ask you to write down the names and phone numbers of everyone in your dining party so they can easily get in contact with you if there is a confirmed coronavirus case at the restaurant. Please be respectful of this request – it is for your safety.

Stay home if you’re not feeling well

Please. If you’re not feeling well, stay home and get tested. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Do the right thing by restaurants

Adhering to the above is essential for stopping the spread of the virus and keeping yourself and restaurant staff safe and well. But what else can you do to ensure the health and viability of the restaurant industry?

Keep your booking

Please understand that restaurants are operating at a reduced capacity, and every person counts.

If you can genuinely no longer make your booking, ensure you give the restaurant enough notice so that they may give your table to another party. And don’t complain if the restaurant asks you to provide credit card details to secure your booking.

Appreciate that restaurants and staff are in a transitional phase

Adjusting to social distancing restrictions and a new way of operating is a challenge for everyone – including restaurant staff – and it may affect everything from service to the food. If you find your experience isn’t quite what you expected, take it up quietly with restaurant staff rather than publicly, and avoid being rude to staff who are trying their best in difficult circumstances.