Reopening restaurants is a smart idea for businesses and the economy but it’s a horrible idea for the general public. Although there are rules in place requiring six feet of distance between each dinner party, those precautions are not enough of an effort to ensure safe dining during COVID-19.

Many restaurants that have opened back up in the past couple months have moved their tables outside. These outdoor dining establishments check everyone’s temperature upon entry and require guests to wear masks as they walk in and as they make their way to the restrooms. These measures however, are not drastic enough if each table is occupied and an asymptomatic person happens to be in attendance.

According to the Los Angeles Times there have been 849,315 confirmed cases in California as of Oct. 9. There is no definite proof that the rise in infected cases are directly linked to the reopening of restaurants but the fact is that there has been an increase in cases as the pandemic continues. These numbers indicate that as the pandemic continues, not enough people are following safety guidelines and avoiding places with heavy traffic.

While many can agree that dining out is always fun and a nice way to unwind after a long day at work, it can wait until the pandemic passes. People who are tired of being in quarantine are testing the waters by going outdoors for a taste of normal life again, but they are also the ones who are the most vulnerable to COVID since they leave themselves exposed every time they leave quarantine.

According to the CDC, restaurants who reduced capacity in order to space tables six feet apart are not entirely safe. Their principles labeled restaurants who offer outdoor dining as “more risk” and restaurants who offer both indoor and outdoor dining as “even more risk.”

Personally, I don’t believe that the six feet distance rule is enough to ensure safe dining. However, I do confess to have eaten at a couple outdoor restaurants in the midst of the COVID panic. However, my mind was changed over the weekend after visiting a cafe in Burbank. This establishment had tiny tables set outside, which were all extremely close to the wall so every person who had to go to the bathroom, had to walk past all of the customers who were eating. What made me feel even more uncomfortable was when I saw a man swinging his hands dry, as he was returning from the restroom to his seat. Watching the small drops of water land on my table from a stranger’s hands, made me feel paranoid and reminded me that the pandemic has yet to end.

It is still too soon to open up restaurants even if all the seating is outdoors. People should be extra cautious when dining at establishments with lower health grades as consumers could be putting themselves at higher risk contracting the virus. Since there is no cure to COVID as of yet and the actual virus is still being studied, patience is paramount. The six foot dining rule seems like an excuse to rush the reopening of restaurants. So cancel reservations and stop taking photos of restaurant food for Instagram. COVID cases in California are still rising so the state is simply not ready to return to dining inside of restaurants, just yet.

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