Life and Religion
|What's on the menu? Dine-in service available across North Carolina|
|Eateries open, but take care of safety|
|Published Friday, May 22, 2020 2:00 pm|
|PHOTO | SANDRA SEITAMAA|
|Restaurants can allow dine-in service starting today as part of the second stage of restarting business activity across North Carolina.|
With the state entering Phase 2 of reopening the state today at 5 p.m. with Gov. Roy Cooper replacing the stay-at-home order with a safer-at-home recommendation, restaurants can reopen for on-premises dining. There are limitations on occupancy, required 6-feet between each group of customers per table, as well as requirements for disinfecting common areas. Novant Health adult primary care physician Dr. John Card has a few recommendations if you choose to dine out.
You can eat at your favorite restaurant again, but social distancing remains critical to everyone’s safety. Remain 6 feet away from other customers. Card recommends wearing a mask unless you are eating, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after the meal as well as after using the restroom.
Card said you should expect restaurants to screen their employees for COVID-19 symptoms and restaurants should send employees home if they show symptoms. Cleanliness becomes an even higher priority. Tables should be disinfected between customers, and high-touch areas should be frequently disinfected. Self-serve should be avoided. Also, single-use or disposable options should be used. Touch-free ordering alternatives should also be used.
“Barriers such as sneeze guards and partitions should be installed at cash registers or other areas where maintaining separation is difficult,” Card said.
Card described red flags as employees not wearing face coverings or washing their hands frequently, dirty bathrooms, lack of soap or unclean surfaces, such as tables. A restaurant cannot exceed 50% capacity, and the capacity statement should be visible.
He also offers extra steps to protect yourself. Avoid touching doors by using automatic doors when possible. Don’t put others at risk by dining out if you do not feel well. Keep hand sanitizer and disposable wipes with you as an extra precaution. Opt for touchless payment when you can.
“If that’s not an option, exchange cash or card payments on a receipt tray or counter, not by hand,” Card said. “Consider using a Q-tip for keying in PIN numbers on credit card keypads” and dispose of it after use.
Phase 2 is scheduled to run through June 26.
For more information about Phase 2: www.nc.gov/covid-19/staying-ahead-curve/phase-2-faqs#what-is-different-about-phase-2-compared-to-phase-1?
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