Amidst the rise of Covid-19, many people have stocked up on essential food items like canned goods and grains so that they are fully prepared to cook a hearty meal in their own kitchen. Eating at home can be delicious, but what if you want to go out for a meal while also supporting local businesses? Here are some general answers to questions you may have, and ways to keep safe while dining out during this unpredictable time. This will serve as as your handy guide to dining out during the pandemic we are currently experiencing.

Is pickup or outdoor dining safer?

The short answer to this question is yes. However, those in a more vulnerable condition should opt to carry out food from restaurants instead of dining in (or outside of) the facility. This reduces the chance of exposure by limiting human interaction with strangers or large groups. People dining outdoors will have their masks removed when eating, which puts individuals in the area at a higher risk. Simply picking up food at a restaurant helps to support struggling local businesses, and give you a night off from cooking. However, if you do feel comfortable venturing out to a restaurant, there are various procedures in place to keep you safe and healthy while dining, but it is up to you as the customer to follow the rules.

Is it necessary to wipe down the tables and utensils? 

No, the tables should be disinfected by the restaurant staff when customers leave and enter as it is required by law. As for utensils, the liquid dish soap that is used to clean them will be enough to keep the virus away. There is no need for further disinfection by you nor for the use of plastic utensils.

coffee, cafe, Restaurant, restaurants, brunch, breakfast, menu, Minimalist, Interior, interiors, minimalistic
Denise Uy

Is it safe to not wear a mask when dining outdoors?

When ordering, try to wear your masks to show respect to the server, and be prepared to wear a facial covering when entering and exiting the restaurant. Still, the only way to eat is without a mask. Although this may put you at risk of catching the virus, the chances could be lessened by sitting six feet away from other customers, or being secluded by barriers such as plexiglass screens. Make sure to keep your distance if your mask is off, and always bring extra hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes! Also, remember to always be kind to the restaurant staff. 

coffee, Friends, Summer, outdoors, smoothies, Ocean, laughing, smiling, smile
Julia Gilman

Is it safe to dine out, overall?

Yes, if all procedures are followed correctly! Many restaurants are prepared to serve their community during this pandemic, as they’ve stocked up on disinfectant products and have protocols to keep everything clean. As for you, make sure you are keeping six feet from others when possible. If you feel iffy about eating out, you can still support local businesses while ordering take out! And most importantly, If you don’t feel well, stay home!

freeze-dried, Eggs, spoonful, tomato, egg, ham, Camping, Campsite, eating, Forest, camp
Shelby Cohron

To get you started, I’ve listed the names and social medias of some restaurants near Flushing, Queens that are currently operating and offering outdoor dining, as well as pickup: 


Mad For Chicken- IG @mfcbayside

Izakaya Mew- IG @Izakayamew

Ginger and Lemongrass- IG @ginger_and_lemongrass

The Basac- IG @thebasacny

Kyuramen- IG @kyuramen.official