Yeah! Finally, restaurants are now open again in New Jersey - with restrictions of course. If you are like me, you have been missing going to your favorite eateries, and now they are opening their doors again!

While they are limited to 25% capacity and other guidelines for safety, at least we are moving toward some sense of normalcy, whatever that is these days.  We just need to accept that the dining experience we once knew is now gone. In the age of COVID-19, it has been replaced with 6-foot spacing between tables, pumps of hand sanitizer, disposable menus, and masks for customers and employees. However, are precautions like these — and other measures, such as disposable utensils, contactless payment, and staff temperature checks — enough to make dining out completely safe? We break down the best ways to stay safe while dining out or should we say "in"?

Because coronavirus can be transmitted through the air it is important to distance yourself from others while dining.  When available, outdoor dining should be your first choice.  If you are eating indoors, try finding a table by an air conditioning unit.  Air conditioners pull fresh air from the outside and circulate it throughout the restaurant.  A table close to an open window may also be a good alternative.

Factors that influence our risk of Covid-19 are how much time you spend in proximity to other people, how close you are to them, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, and how physically close you are to people you typically do not come in contact with.  Indoor restaurant dining could potentially be the worst of all of these options.  However, many restaurants are making their best effort to follow safety guidelines.

Some things we can do: make sure restaurant staff are wearing masks, try to limit touchpoints, such as doorknobs and bathrooms. Make sure you use hand sanitizer after touching anything that came in contact with another person.  Go out to eat on off-times, to avoid overcrowding, and limit your time in the restaurant if possible.

If you are unsure about the air quality and safety precautions of a restaurant then cooking at home,  take-out or delivery may be better options for you.

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