The UK has once again entered a lockdown amid efforts to manage a second wave of coronavirus cases sweeping across Europe. The lockdown restricts pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and other non-essential businesses from operating normally, at least until December 2.
What does this mean for eating out? Are you allowed to dine in restaurants? What about visiting a friend’s house for lunch? You’re probably well aware of the rules by now.
While the experience of trying out new food or spending time with friends is invaluable to mental health, which is much-needed in a pandemic, it is still vitally important to take adequate safety precautions. It’s safe to eat food prepared or handled by others, but there are still things you can do to safeguard yourself.
In this article, we’ll cover the dining options available to you during this new lockdown. Read on…
What Is and Isn’t Allowed
As mentioned above, all non-essential businesses – including restaurants, cafes and pubs – are closed for in-person services. This means you’re not allowed to walk in and sit indoors for a meal.
However, these establishments will still be open and operating, with certain services available in lieu of traditional indoors dining. Rest assured, then, that you can still enjoy your Chinese takeaway – or any takeaway. You can now opt for drive-through pickup or click-and-collect (where you pre-order and collect your food outside the building). Additionally, delivery services will still be available. Note that you may have longer wait times if restaurants are understaffed and the demand for delivery is high.
Supermarkets and grocery stores are considered essential retail, so they’ll remain open under the new lockdown rules, of course, although in-store capacity will likely be greatly reduced and regular store hours may be cut.
Additionally, social gathering indoors is prohibited, so eating at a friend’s or family member’s house, or inviting others into your own home, runs the risk of virus transmission. There is, of course, an exception, and that is for people who already live in your household – and for those in your support bubble; a person who lives alone can visit a couple’s house, for example, for food, drinks or a catch up. Other than this, put safety first and aim for virtual social gatherings until the lockdown ends.
Safe Food Handling Tips
There is no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food or food packaging, but you should always practice safe food handling procedures. Whether you’re ordering takeaway or buying raw ingredients straight from the supermarket, there are things you can do to further prevent your risk of virus transmission.
Any time you handle food products from restaurants, wash your hands after you pick it up. When ordering food from outside, opt for foods you can heat up, as this can potentially kill off any bacteria on the food. Try to limit sandwiches or salads, which may be harder to heat up.
When you get home from doing your food shopping, you can wipe down product packaging with disinfectant wipes as an extra precaution. Fruits and vegetables can be washed as well.
We hope this has proved useful.
Do stay safe, everyone.
Until next time…