After over three months of lockdown, restaurants in Montreal have finally been re-opened as of June 22nd. For restaurant owners, this is great news! Their businesses have taken a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many of them have had to let their staff go. However, this is an opportunity to start rebuilding. Things cannot go back to the way they were pre-COVID. Managers have to determine the appropriate number of customers that can be served in their restaurant without breaking the 2-meter rule. Here is what Montrealers need to know about heading back to restaurants and terraces after COVID-19.
For Montrealers who have missed dining at their favorite restaurants, this is even better news. Diners are all too eager to share wonderful moments with their family and friends as they dine in a restaurant or go to terraces.
However, there are important things to keep in mind as you head out to keep yourself and loved ones safe.
Remember itâ€™s not ‘Risk-Free’
While itâ€™s quite easy to fall into a false sense of safety, remember that the virus hasnâ€™t been completely eradicated and so, thereâ€™s still a minute risk of infection. Although restaurants have put several safety measures in place – like observing 2-meter spacing between tables, providing pumps of hand sanitizers, disposable menus, and masks for customers and employees – this doesnâ€™t eliminate the risks.
If youâ€™re convinced itâ€™s a risk worth taking, select a restaurant that is making conscientious efforts to keep customers safe by following the stipulated health guidelines. Before dining in a restaurant ask yourself the following questions: Are they practicing social distancing? Are the restaurant staffers wearing masks that cover their noses and mouth? Is the space well ventilated?
Identify risk points
Potential risk points are places where the possibility of contact with others is likely, just like the bathroom. Similarly, restaurant staff cannot bring your food without touching the plate, which youâ€™ll eventually touch. Make sure you dine in a restaurant where servers wash their hands regularly to reduce the risk of transmission.
Similarly, the air conditioning unit can also increase the risk of transmission. Itâ€™s probably better to eat outside, possibly on terraces. However, this may be impossible as it gets hotter outside. Thatâ€™s why restaurant owners have to change their air filters frequently as a safety precaution.
Evaluate your risk tolerance
Based on several kinds of research, itâ€™s clear that a variety of factors influence the effect of the coronavirus on a victim. Most notably, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions face the greatest risk. Furthermore, if you live with those that fall under the risk category for COVID-19, youâ€™ll need to reevaluate if dining at a restaurant is worth the risk. Remember, itâ€™s quite easy for germs to spread around people dining at a table.
Other key things to note
Itâ€™s reasonable that all safety protocols have been focused on curtailing the spread of COVID-19. However, there are other risks out there, given this extended period of lockdown.
Animal-associated Risk (Droppings)
This lockdown has been great for many animals as theyâ€™re able to carry out their daily activities without noise interference or human conflicts. However, their unrestrained activity is associated with some risks. For instance, birds have had unrestrained access to terraces, patios, and so on. These locations are likely littered with bird droppings and they pose several health-related risks including psittacosis and Cryptococcus. Thatâ€™s why restaurants, in particular, have to decontaminate their terraces, as well as put bird control and droppings cleanup measures in place. Thankfully, bird control companies handle this type of work.
Many Montrealers feel ecstatic and are all too eager to visit places they havenâ€™t been able to go to. While itâ€™s understandable – heck, youâ€™ve been indoors for over 3 months – ensure you take the necessary safety precautions. Remember that by going out, you put yourself, and even those that are home at risk. Therefore, proceed with caution!