I support phased reopening. Yet a lack of federal guidance leaves even residents of states that are trying to reopen responsibly with difficult choices. Is going out to eat helping my local economy or putting myself and service workers at unnecessary risk? If we’re reopening, do I still need to isolate for a certain time before I show up at a restaurant? Do I need to get a test before dining out? If I do get tested, am I depriving someone who is more deserving?
After I hit “confirm” on my online reservation I started asking myself even more of these questions, all of them portending awkwardness. Should I wear a mask? I wear a mask whenever I’m in public — it feels reckless not to. OK, so I wear the mask. But I’ll be … eating? Am I supposed to put it on and take it off in between bites and sips? Is that idiotic? Or is it simply being respectful of the restaurant staff? Or is my mere presence as a patron idiotic and reckless? Dining out — a relaxing treat!
I emailed the restaurant before the reservation about its mask policy. I was hoping for some strict guidance but the owners had none, leaving it to staff and patrons to decide individually. They were gracious and lovely, but also unwilling to set that policy themselves. They’re trying to walk a fine line in the hope of making everyone comfortable.