(407) 810-2467
Community-minded environmental hygiene
experts with a health-centric focus!

What You Can Do To Help Lower Your Risk Of Getting Food-borne Illnesses From Dining At Restaurants After The Pandemic

The stay-at-home order has been lifted. Restaurants are open and allowed to have dining room seating. After many weeks of quarantine, most people cannot wait to get back to their “normal” including eating at their favorite restaurants.

Many of you who have gone out to eat at a restaurant may have noticed everyone who works at the restaurant including the waiters and waitresses, is wearing gloves. Before the pandemic, only employees who prepare food or who handle food wore gloves. Now, everyone is wearing them. While wearing gloves may seem like a good idea in preventing the spread of germs, it can also give a false sense of security. This happens when a restaurant worker does not change the gloves after touching a potentially contaminated material or surface.

While most restaurant workers are very diligent in ensuring they keep a healthy and clean environment for their patrons, there are those who fail to understand proper cleanliness and germ control. So, what can you do to protect you and your loved ones from becoming sick from food-borne illnesses? Ask yourself the following when dining out:

  • Is your server showing any outward signs and symptoms of upper respiratory infection, such as sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or itchy nose?
  • Is your server wearing the recommended mask covering his/her nose and mouth?
  • Is your female server’s long hair pulled back securely so that it is not dangling around and potentially making contact with your food?
  • Does your male server have a beard? If so, do you see any white particulates on his chest that could be evident of dry flaky skin under his beard?
  • Is your server wearing gloves?
  • Is your server’s work attire clean, neat, and free from any visible dirt or stains?
  • Does your server constantly touch his or her face, hair or adjust the mask with his or her gloved hands?
  • Is your server helping other patrons who show outward signs and symptoms of upper respiratory infection?
  • What other tasks is your server doing simultaneously while serving you?
  • Is he or she using a recycled wet rag to wipe down tables and other surfaces?
  • Does your server use his/her personal cell phone in between customers?
  • Does your server have any open wounds on his or her arms or hands?

If you notice your server is not practicing proper germ control, such as failing to change his or her gloves after touching a potentially contaminated surface or item, do not hesitate to let him or her or management on duty know immediately and in a polite way, of course. Depending on the type of training they have had, the server may not fully understand how not to spread germs. Although we cannot fully eliminate all the germs we encounter, we can certainly minimize our exposure to them by being aware and cognizant of our surroundings. Knowing how to minimize our risks will allow us to continue to enjoy dining at our favorite restaurants and most importantly, prevent us from experiencing the discomfort of food poisoning.