The opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of NightMoves and AAN.
There is no question that when this pandemic comes to a close we will be living our lives in a new normal. A majority of activities and how we approached our daily lives and even took for granted six months or a year ago will fall by the wayside. Change will be difficult for some people and our lives will undergo a big trans formation as we grapple with this new way of living our lives. One of those changes will be dining out in restaurants. Will the majority of people still go out to eat as much as before with all the new restrictions? That remains to be seen as more and more states begin to open up and try to get back to business as usual. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever see back to business as usual again, it will be a whole new scenario that we will face.
Obviously going out to a restaurant now will be a whole new experience. As states open up more, many restaurants are now back to dine in once again but with major restrictions and new policies. In some places, like ours here in Tampa Bay, they can only have up to 50% capacity. The tables must be reset and spaced so there is the proper social distance. Patrons will be required to wear masks (if you refuse they will have the right to ask you to leave). All of the wait staff, bar help and kitchen will wear masks. There will be no more big group parties, or saving a particular space. The menus will paper throw away type and in many cases smaller. That may mean your favorite beef or fish entrée you always enjoyed may no longer be on the menu. You may well see a change in pricing as these establishments try to recoup the huge losses they incurred during the shutdown. In addition some restaurants will also add other safety measures as well to protect themselves as well as you the customer.
Let’s be honest. We have all been suffering from “cabin fever” these past 3 plus months, staying at home, only going out when absolutely necessary such as grocery shopping, drug store, etc. As for going out to dinner or other social activities they have been put on hold. So we do more cooking at home, or we have ordered online from places that remained open for takeout and pick up only. Now businesses are reopening, restaurants are open at 50% capacity and hoping to recapture some of that lost income along with getting returning diners and new customers. But this pandemic is far from over. In some places the numbers are not going down as quickly as had been hoped. In some places the numbers continue to spike upward. Now, with recent protest movements, there is a big worry that the numbers could really escalate in the next couple of weeks.
So are you ready to go out and sit down in your favorite restaurant amid all the changes and recent developments? We all want to escape the “cabin fever” we have experienced and with the various reopenings taking place we now can, but it will be very different from just a few months ago. So, will you head out and enjoy a theme park, the beach, clubs with live entertainment or a restaurant for dinner with all these rules and restrictions in place? It would seem, from various news reports, that a decent percentage of people are, but on the other hand there also seems to be a majority who still do not feel comfortable going out in a public setting as yet and that is understandable.
There will come a time when we will all get back to some sense of normalcy and be eager to go out for an evening to a club, to a dance, a sports event, eat in a restaurant and more. The BIG question is……………when will that be?
If you want to see a listing of changes and which may stay in effect even after the pandemic ends, go to: https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/all-the-covid-changes-restaurants-had-to-make-and-which-might-stay/ss-BB152ZfC?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U506DHP#interstitial=2
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN