Monday, June 29, 2020

Rant: Dining Out This Holiday Weekend

During the last few weeks, the weather has been usually pleasant, making outside dining even more attractive. With the dangers of Covid-19 still facing us, some restaurants have chosen to provide outside dining, from patios to tents. Although restaurants can also provide some limited inside dining,  many consumers are wary about doing so, especially considering that issues about HVAC systems have not really been resolved.

I've been dining outside at several different restaurants, such as Prince Pizzeria, District Kitchen and Feng Shui. So far, I've felt safe at all of the places where I've dined and these restaurants seem to be following proper safety precautions. The food has been delicious, and the experience almost seems normal once again. None of these restaurants were especially busy when I dined there, and they certainly deserve more patronage, which they could still handle properly.

We all have seen how initially outdoor dining in the North End raised some concerns, but the state quickly took action to remedy the situation.  And since that time, I haven't seen any additional concerns raised, and possibly all of the North End restaurants are now taking the proper precautions. And if they don't, they could lose the ability to offer outside dining.

With the July 4 weekend upcoming, and the weather looking like it will be quite nice, outdoor dining might be on the agenda for many people. In general, that is a very good idea, helping restaurants which have endured harsh financial issues during the last several months. It can be a pleasant experience, enjoying the summer, dining on tasty food and maybe having a refreshing cocktail, beer, wine or nonalcoholic beverage.

However, the beautiful weather and holiday could bring out large crowds of people, and some restaurants might be tempted to bend safety precautions to cater to all of these potential customers. I understand their desire, wanting to earn as much money as they can, but they MUST still follow all proper safety and health standards. We do not want a new surge of Covid-19 cases, which might lead to people dying as well as businesses being shut down once again.

In addition, customers must play their part, following required safety precautions and not trying to bend the rules. Don't be selfish! Think about everyone else dining near you, and the danger you place them in if you refuse to follow safety precautions. Wear a mask when required, and wear it properly, covering both your mouth and nose. Socially distance when necessary, and don't crowd other people. Restaurants and customers both must work at making outdoor dining safer for everyone.

We can safely enjoy excellent experiences while dining out this holiday weekend. Don't be part of the problem!

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