Enjoying Restaurants in a Post-COVID World
By Darien Davies
Sure, quarantine was difficult for a myriad of reasons. On top of your changing (or lost) job situation and newfound solitude, you had to become your own personal chef.
Heading to the grocery store once a week then ordering everything your heart desired for delivery became the new norm, and getting creative with soy sauce, pasta and canned chicken never took so much brainpower.
But now that we’re finally able to visit our favorite watering holes and full-service restaurants in South Florida that we’ve missed so much, it’s time to say sayonara to the 24/7 frozen meals and bagged foods.
While you were at home living your best KitchenAid life, the outside world was changing, especially in the dining scene. Instead of only worrying about ticket times and table rotations, restaurant workers now have to worry about face masks, extra sanitization measures and their own personal safety.
At the same time, diners must be aware of Palm Beach and Broward County’s COVID-19 threat while enjoying their much-anticipated bite to eat with friends, cocktails and views. So what part can you play? Many.
Be Nice to Foodservice Workers
When COVID-19 hit, Palm Beach and Broward County restaurants had to either close completely or change business strategies for to-go orders only. Not only this, but the majority of restaurant workers got completely laid off. Everyone is getting back in the swing of things now that most restaurants are open, which includes everything from food deliveries to new operating procedures.
When you visit, make sure you’re there to have a good time, and please don’t demand perfection. Your servers, bartenders and hostesses are doing their best to accommodate your every request, and it’s a work in progress.
They’re having to deal with a limited team, limited menu items and limited space for tables, so they’re essentially learning a new job, on the job. It’s a new environment for everyone involved, so let’s take it all in stride and cut foodservice workers some slack. Be cool like your beer, and cheers to being out and about in the first place.
Remember: COVID-19 is Still Real
Yes, the media focus has shifted. But not hearing about COVID-19 on every media outlet every minute of every day doesn’t mean it’s over.
There are still hoards of people who are contracting, dealing with and dying from the virus every day, which is reason in itself to continue social distancing. Alongside this, make sure you’re wearing your mask and staying home if you’re sick.
It doesn’t matter if your closest encounter with the coronavirus is six degrees of separation away. That might not be the case for the person sitting at your adjacent table or the server in your section.
So while grabbing our favorite dishes (that someone else cooked, to boot) in our favorite restaurants is fun and ah-freaking-mazing, remain mindful of your physical reach out of consideration for those around you.
Moving Forward Post-Coronavirus
While we fall a little more in love with Phase Two in Palm Beach County and its welcome invitation to sink our teeth into the new norm, let’s remember to do our best to make this new change easy on everyone. We’re all in this together; slow and steady measures will win the restaurant race.
This isn’t to say we won’t miss the friendship we’ve created with our delivery driver, or pretending that we’re Emeril in our at-home Food Network kitchen. But taking a bite out of the social scene might do us all some good. Just remember to mind your manners!