Venturing Out to Restaurants: What to Know Before Dining Out

dining out

We are starting to return to a semi-normal state, because that’s what needs to be tested now and we hope there continues to be good news about the virus numbers.

Restaurants are able to open at 50 percent capacity beginning today, after being capped at 25 percent capacity for the last week. Even at half-full, these businesses have a tough road ahead. They’ve lost a lot of money and staff already, the food supply lines need to get back up to speed and everyone needs to stay healthy.

What to do? 

If you plan on dining out at a restaurant, check that venue’s website first. Most are requiring reservations, because if you just show up and they are at capacity, you’ll have to wait a while – and keep a distance between you and others outside, or wait in your car. Making reservations is easy and helps everyone stay on course. If there is an option to dine inside or outside, choose whichever seating makes you feel more comfortable. 

Many cities, including Boca Raton, have tried to help restaurants by closing off streets or closing off facing parks to allow more seating outside. This is good news and they will figure out what to do when the heat turns up in a couple of months. 

Wear your mask when walking through the restaurant, while entering and when leaving. Expect the employees to also be wearing masks and maybe gloves. This is all done as a consideration for you and others around you. Same deal as no smoking in restaurants!

There will probably be disposable menus; you use the menus and they are tossed. Your cutlery will be wrapped inside the napkin, so nobody has handled it when setting up the tables. Restaurants are being led by very strict guidelines now; if they have a two-person-only seated rule and you show up with three people, prepare to sit apart or leave. Never forget these are private businesses and it is a privilege to dine there.

Finally, be polite. Be kind. Be patient. You’re frequenting a business that is struggling to survive and (I hope) you want to help them succeed. It’s going to take a very long time to return to where we were – if we ever do. 

All restaurants offering takeout and delivery before they opened to seated dining are still offering those services. If you don’t feel comfortable dining out, please continue to order from your favorite restaurants anyway. Let’s jump back into this recovery together.

Hungry for more food news? Visit our food page, and subscribe to the magazine for the most delicious coverage of Boca and beyond.

Want more food news?

Sign up for our Dish e-newsletter, where you’ll get the latest food and drink news delivered directly to your inbox.