September 13, 2020

take out rather than dine in

Jamie and I both are good cooks, which is a good thing right now. We are well known among our friends for the excellent campfire paella we make, among other things. We perfected it when we lived in Santa Fe and had a Kiva fireplace on our portal (front porch). Sigh, I miss that fireplace, and I miss eating good meals at our favorite restaurants. But eating inside a restaurant right now, is not in the cards.

We know a lot more about the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19, than we did when I started writing about the pandemic in early March. At that time, Jamie and I blithely sat at the counter (BM- before masks) eating breakfast at a diner on Whidbey Island, our last restaurant meal out. We now know the virus is airborne and people can transmit it without knowing they have it, which is why mask wearing can help reduce transmissions. We know that COVID-19 is more dangerous and deadly than the flu, because it affects more than just the lungs. There is alarming evidence of heart involvement in young athletes. Younger adults and children can suffer after all the denials that they weren’t affected. True, they are less likely to die than older people, but complications and deaths do occur. We also have more knowledge so that scientists are optimistic a vaccine is coming, although probably not until winter.

The CDC reported this week that a case controlled investigation showed people with symptomatic COVID-19 were exposed either to someone with COVID-19 or had been to a restaurant or bar. Those who were positive were twice as likely to have spent time eating or drinking at a restaurant or bar. Hence, the big increase of COVID-19 in college towns.

Sadly, I can’t feel safe dining indoors for the foreseeable future. The blog linked below by Dr. Sax also talks about the difference between New York City and Madrid in rebound of the virus after their initial deadly surges. Madrid has re-opened restaurants and bars and now cases are rising. New York still bans dining and drinking indoors and their cases are holding steady.

This pandemic is a strain on all of us and the restaurant and bar industry has been hurt more than almost any other. We try to get take out at least once a week to support our favorites, a treat for us. Here in Seattle, many restaurants are adapting and offering more than just take out, selling produce from farmers who usually sell to restaurants, as well as selling cocktails to go, among other things. The city has made it easier for restaurants to set up outdoor seating, as well. Here are some other ideas from Bon Appetit to support restaurants to keep them alive. It is going to take some time before we start returning to more normal times and the people who work at these places need our help.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, support your favorite restaurant with takeout.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.