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Your Covid-19 questions answered

How do I minimise the risk of getting Covid-19 while eating out?

05 October 2021 - 07:00
There are certain safety precautions patrons can take while eating out at restaurants.
There are certain safety precautions patrons can take while eating out at restaurants.
Image: Daniel Becerril

The weather is warming up and lockdown restrictions have eased, so you may be tempted to hit a restaurant or two and sit with some friends on a sunny terrace while sipping something cool.

But Covid-19 still looms, so how do you protect yourself from the virus while out and about?

Under lockdown level 1, restaurants and taverns are allowed to operate as normal but must close around 11pm to keep the national curfew of midnight. Alcohol can also only be served until 11pm.

“Restaurants, bars. shebeens and taverns are subject to a limitation of a maximum of 750 people or less for indoor venues and 2,000 people or less for outdoor venues and if the venue is too small to hold 750 people indoors or 2,000 people outdoors observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used,” the regulations say.

Failure to comply can lead to “a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment”.

Wearing a face mask is mandatory for every person when in a public place, excluding a child under the age of six years, and you should be washing your hands/sanitising and social distancing when out. 

You should also stay home if you have Covid-19 symptoms or suspect you might have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has added to this advice with seven helpful tips to minimise the risk of catching Covid-19 when you eat out:

  1. Before eating, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  2. Avoid using or sharing items that are reusable, such as menus, condiments, and any other food containers. Instead, use disposable or digital menus, single serving condiments
  3. If you need to make use of the bathroom, push the door open by using your body and avoid using the hand-dryer. Rather wipe your hands with a paper towel or toilet paper
  4. Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people, unless they are people from the same household
  5. Use touchless payment options as much as possible, if available
  6. While eating, your mask will be off. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes
  7. Sit outside if you can, open spaces with moving air significantly decrease your risk of contracting the virus via airborne droplets