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What Restaurants Could Look Like After the COVID-19 Lockdown is Lifted

The novel coronavirus will change the way we dine at restaurants—but that's not necessarily bad news.

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A Mexican restaurant adapts to the Covid-19 lockdown. The owner is cleaning the window wearing a mask and gloves.halbergman/getty Images

What will restaurants be like after the lockdown?

It’s no surprise that the food service industry has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Curbside pick-up, Uber Eats and take-out orders became the new normal overnight as we learned to stay safe indoors. As restaurants are looking to start reopen in the months ahead, you may see some changes popping up at your favourite establishments. Spoiler alert: It’s not all bad news.

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Woman in outdoor restaurantwebphotographeer/getty Images

Restaurants may offer more outdoor seating

If you live in an area with great weather, this is a welcome change. Who doesn’t love enjoying a meal outdoors? Many U.S. restaurants are currently opening up their outdoor seating arrangements at half capacity. This way, restaurants can lower the risk of exposure by maintaining social distancing measures.

Take a peek at the summer forecast across Canada, according to AccuWeather.

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6 feet distance and the one-way direction is marked outside of a store where customers are waiting in a line to enter the store.Yuko Smith photography/Getty Images

Creative ways to maintain social distancing

Be prepared to see many creative and unusual social distancing practices popping up at your local restaurants and small businesses. European cafes and restaurants have already hopped on this trend by using pool noodles or setting up mini greenhouses to keep patrons two metres apart.

Find out 10 things flight attendants won’t be allowed to do anymore.

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Server wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19stockstudioX/getty Images

You’ll have your server’s full attention

With fewer tables to take care of, your server may be able to offer even more attentive service. Slowing things down creates an opportunity to make connections—albeit muffled through a face mask. Get to know your server and be sure to tip them well.

On the other hand, these are the etiquette rules you can now ignore because of coronavirus.

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coronavirus take-outSandra Leidholdt/Getty Images

Take-out > Dining in

Take-out orders will remain a popular option in the coming months as people are starting to warm up to dining out. No matter if you go the take-out or dine-in route, you’re still supporting your favourite restaurant either way. Enjoy your take-out safely by opting for no-contact delivery and washing your hands often. Make sure you avoid these common hand-washing mistakes.

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Woman alone in restaurantRealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

Fewer crowds

In the United States, where restaurants are beginning to reopen, the CDC’s restaurant guidelines recommend that establishments should reduce their seating capacity to allow for social distancing. So if you’re planning on dining out when restaurants in Canada follow suit, make sure to avoid peak hours or else you may be put on a lengthy waitlist. But hey, there is a perk to this. With a customer limit in place, that means you’ll have a quieter ambiance while dining out.

Check out the 15 things you should never eat at a restaurant.

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Customer at the checkout makes mobile payment with the smartphoneRobert Kneschke / EyeEm/getty Images

Contactless payments

In lockdown, most restaurants offering food delivery service preferred, or even requested, that customers pay with touchless methods like Apple Pay or with a debit or credit card. Cash may still be discouraged when you’re dining out to limit the spread of germs.

Our experts answer: How safe is it to have food delivered to your home during COVID-19?

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A young Chinese woman is carefully reading the menu made of wood at a restaurant on a fine day in Trondheim, Norway.Morten Falch Sortland/getty Images

Simpler menus

Lengthy menus and buffet-style restaurants may take a while to return to the restaurant scene. As the lockdown is gradually lifted, expect to see a slimmed-down selection of items, including the establishment’s most popular and seasonal dishes. This allows restaurants to plan appropriately and use up their stock efficiently.

Find out how people are celebrating their birthdays in quarantine.

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Man working in a coffee shop wearing a maskianmcdonnell/getty Images

Extensive cleaning procedures

Masks, gloves and sanitizing stations are about to become the new norm along with other extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures. How can you do your part? Wear a mask before eating and always remember to wash your hands.

No mask? No problem. Find out how to make a DIY face mask—no sewing required.

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Disposable ECO-friendly tableware made of bamboo wood and paper on a cardboard background. The photo is covered in graininess and noise.Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

A rise in single-use utensils

In some restaurants, common items from plates and cups to forks and spoons will be single-use. Now’s not the time to be sharing drinks and appetizers, either (but honestly, this just means more food for you!).

Find out more germ spreading habits you need to give up now.

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Female chef restaurant owner posing holding an Open Sign outside her restaurant wearing a mask because Covid-19Juanmonino/getty Images

Increased appreciation for small businesses, servers and chefs

When times get tough, we lean on each other. Now’s the time to show your appreciation and support your favourite restaurants. Tip a little extra, smile a little more and order your favourite dishes, of course. We’ll all get through this strange transitional time together.

Next, find out what shopping could look like after the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

Originally Published on Taste of Home