Dining out post pandemonium

Tonight in Napa



We’re near Manchester. I’ve always lived in what’s now the metro area.

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Looking forward to the “post” period, we’re still at the peak right now in France. Restaurants are closed from late October except for take out, no date for reopening. Rumours said mid May, no confirmation. I believe it will be June…for outdoor dining. Everyday we have curfews from 7 pm till morning. One can order delivery food until 10 pm.

Since last 2 weeks, first there have been a few scandals of really expensive illegal private restaurants in apartments with menu 190- 490€ per person discovered by some TV journalists, another one organized in a private hotel, customers included government ministers. Then over the weekend there were more illegal restaurants busted by the police, with at least 110 people dining together.


The BBC reports that story:


Exactly. The Twitter with the video on the BBC link, you can see the first scandal of meals of the rich. For the whole week, there was a witch-hunt of who’s the minister and down with him. Turned out it was an ex minister…

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We have enjoyed dining in since it was originally allowed at 25% in NJ. It is now up to 50%. We only go to a handful of restaurants that we feel comfortable in (that are following Covid protocols). We also dine early at 5PM before it gets busy so we have the restaurant to ourselves for a while. The tables are also nicely spaced. We finally were able to get our first Moderna shots last week and have our 2nd shots scheduled for May 4th. I’ll feel a lot safer after that. I am trying to support my favorite restaurants as much as I can. I already lost a few favorites to Covid. Below are links to our last two outstanding indoor dinners this past weekend.


My region is 1 week into a 4 week lockdown. I haven’t had an outdoor restaurant meal since Oct 31. I had 3 indoor meals last summer, and I was anxious at one of them. I was already feeling worried about Covid when I had my last in-restaurant meals on between March 5th- 14th, 2020. I haven’t had a relaxed indoor meal since a Sunday brunch at a pub the first Sunday in March last year.

Several of my favourite bakeries and restaurants have had to shut down recently 2 weeks after a staff member has become sick.

I have no idea when I will feel comfortable dining inside restaurants again.

I am enjoying seeing beautiful patio meals today, from London UK restaurants posting on Instagram.


My husband and I are SO excited to eat out (inside) again. We did it once this year and only with another couple that we knew was being super careful in a private room. We will both be getting our second shot at the end of April so by mid-May we hope to eat out.

We’re in central New Jersey. Restaurants have been open for indoor dining for months now, but we have only eaten in one time–breakfast on December 26 after our power had been out for over 24 hours and we needed to go someplace warm. But we’re both over 70, and Mark has asthma, so we’ve been sticking to take-out. And even that, we really used our two favorite Chinese restaurants for most of them. We have started to branch out a bit (BBQ, gyros, Mexican).

That will change after the end of the month, when we will have been fully vaccinated (and past the two-week waiting period). I’m looking forward to our sushi place, Texas Roadhouse, Thai, and Cinco de Mayo in a restaurant instead of as take-out.

However, I have noticed that both Wasabi 34 and Thai Thai have increased the prices on the dishes we get by about 20%. Is this standard for restaurants?

I can understand that. When the restrictions were lifted here in the summer, we started to eat out again. We only went to some of our regular places where we reckoned they would “do the right thing”. With one exception it was fine. But the exception left us feeling a little nervous. We also took the opportunity to have a short break, renting a holiday cottage for a week. We ate out every night and, for once, Tripadvisor reviews were helpful. I’d drawn up a list of places we might have dinner at. Then I checked the Tripadvisor reviews for mentions of how places were dealing with Covid. That removed a few from my list. So, we went with a fair amount of confidence and, again, with one exception, everything was fine. We actually plan a similar strategy for the upcoming relaxation - going to local places where we feel we will have confidence and then we have another week away planned. Yes, it’s a nervous time - but feeling anxious is nothing new for me in all this.


^ Same. Even when we’re fully vaccinated, there’s too much community spread where we live for us to be comfortable dining inside a restaurant. Our state is also a hotspot for the more contagious B117 variant and we don’t want to unintentionally contribute to its fast spread. We long for restaurant dining—not to mention pining for the other aspects of normal life! We’re determined to do whatever we can to beat back this nasty virus.

We do expect to enjoy more outdoor dining as the weather warms. Last summer we ventured out a few times to a restaurant with an open-air seaside deck, a constant breeze, and loads of space between the tables.

This summer we can imagine going to more restaurants with outdoor spaces, provided that things are more under control. A gradual return is what we foresee for ourselves.


Disappointed! Our governor just announced rollbacks to phase 2, in three counties, including ours. That means indoor dining is limited to 25% occupancy, and will surely entail limited menu options as well. Seattle is in a different county, so at least phase 3 is an option there. Looking forward to no restrictions, when that time comes…can’t wait.

As others have noted, we are in the midst of a pandemic, not pandemonium.

Just because things are allowed doesn’t mean they are smart.

My wife and I have had one jab (Pfizer) and get our second next week (ish).

We haven’t eaten out at all since February '20. “Outdoor dining” in tents with plastic chairs is not outdoors, merely uncomfortable. Not smart.

People, in our view, who push the boundaries are likely to be high risk and therefore to be avoided. Contact tracing is clear that bars and restaurants, sporting events, churches, and family gatherings (backyard barbecues, weddings, and funerals) are not healthy.

We won’t return to dining out for the foreseeable future. Vaccine efficacy, breakthrough infection, transmission issues, long COVID, heart and nerve damage, and more make be cautious well-advised. Our version of “cautious” may not be yours.

To be blunt, now is still the time to STFH.


Not necessarily mutually exclusive. Yesterday, pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen here, serving customers seated in an outdoor area. So, the experience from one local pub saw their outdoor area absolutely packed with drinkers. Lots of people standing, because all the tables were occupied. No sign of social distancing . No customer contact details being taken. No-one bothering with masks. A fight breaks out. It spills out into the road, causing a car to swerve to avoid hitting them - but crashing into an oncoming vehicle. What a bunch of fuckwits! That’s pandemonium in a pandemic.


Not only not mutually exclusive, but looking at the various governments in action (and inaction), pretty much happening in tandem.

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We all have different risk tolerances. That’s why I posed the question. I don’t think I’m being reckless but I assess the risks and what I’m comfortable doing. Heck, I’ve actually been going to the office since July 2020 and taking the subway. As a “senior” manager of my firm, I was designated as essential for the operation of the company so I have been coming to midtown almost every day. Also getting tested on a regular basis. Touch wood as my British colleagues say, haven’t gotten sick. I think you would be surprised by the number of senior managers of large companies that have been going to the office.


Which returns to my point that what is legal/allowed is not necessarily smart.


I’m realizing a lot of ppl in my network aren’t nearly as risk adverse as I am. I keep telling them why I have to be more careful than some other people, and several people keep pushing me to loosen up.

My risk intolerance doesn’t compute. They’re getting their shots and booking cross country flights for leisure. I won’t have my 40something age group come up for shot #1 for a couple months (it’s 60 and up where I am), and shot #2 is 4 months later for most Canadians.

As of today, I’m going to try to change the topic.


I think there is also a refusal to accept the reality of the risk. If one insists that the risk is lower than it actually is the level of risk acceptance doesn’t even apply. Risk management is a whole profession that breaks down into probability and impact. Risk, even if the probability is high, is usually acceptable if the impact is low (say a hangnail). The potential impact of COVID-19 is stunningly high that low probability still leads to high aggregate risk.

My wife and I get our second shots in about a week. Vaccination is a layer of defense that makes us more comfortable but is unlikely to change out behaviors a wit (or a @LindaWhit perhaps grin).


Or perhaps unlikely to change out behaviors a whit. :wink: Sorry, I had to go there…I’m a Katie Gibbs graduate from LONG ago, and both grandmothers were English teachers as was my Mom, so I’m a grammar maven. Besides, it works better with my HO handle. LOL

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2