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The revival of the F&B industry is something we're excited to witness. But of course, it's important to continue in protecting ourselves and those around us. Here are a few tips on how to maximise your experience, while minimising risk.

It's been a tough year for the F&B industry and they need all the support they can get. Fortunately, the gradual lifting of restrictions has allowed some of us to go back to our favourite dining haunts once again. Although that doesn't automatically mean that everyone is fully comfortable eating out just yet. For those who are still wary, here are a few tips on how you can stay safe while enjoying your meal and the company of others.

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Eat al fresco

Al fresco dining has always been a treat. Fresh air, sunshine, and the idyllic joys of people watching — now who wouldn't want that? But these days, there's another reason why this form of setup has become much preferred: scientists agree that it's much safer than dining indoors.

In the fight against Covid-19, good air circulation has become an important ally. This is because it helps disperse respiratory droplets much quicker than in places with poor ventilation. In addition, outdoor spaces are more likely to have room for social distancing. So next time you're thinking of going on a coffee date with a friend, consider doing it Parisian style—outdoors!

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Don't share food

As much as I love to pick from other people's plates, during this time it's simply a no-no. This is especially true if you're eating out with people from different households. And this isn't simply to protect you from other people either; it's a protocol that safeguards the health of those you dine with as well. When eating out, please don't share food off the same plates using your utensils, instead make sure to have a serving spoon, plus your own plate and cutlery that do not commingle with others.

See also: Datin Sharifah Shawati: Etiquette Tips For The Post-Covid Era

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Call the Restaurant if you're unsure about their protocol

Most, if not all, restaurants are adhering to the strict protocol set upon by the government. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't differences among our favourite eateries. For example, some restaurants have acrylic dividers set up while others rely on alternate seating to keep distance. Buffets also have protocol that may or may not apply to regular a la carte establishments.

Choosing a restaurant where you will feel safe is the most important thing to help you enjoy your meal, so choose well! Most eateries have social media that you can visit to check or inquire, so we suggest that if there's something you aren't sure about, get in touch with them.

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Observe proper mask etiquette

This goes without saying but masks are a vital part of our daily outfits. Keep them on for as long as you can! This means before the food gets to the table and as soon as the meal is over.

Make sure to observe proper mask storage as well i.e. placing it on top of a piece of tissue paper instead of directly on the table when you remove it to eat. Remember, other people will still be using the table after you've finished eating so let's be courteous to our fellow diners. 

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Social distancing is still important

As much as possible, try dining out at restaurants with less crowd. Not only will this help you feel more comfortable in your surroundings, it'll also be a big help to the restaurant (which could be struggling to keep afloat). Who knows, maybe you'll discover something new this way too! 

Restaurants that have ample space are an attractive choice. Remember that the most important thing to consider is the number of people in a shared space. Avoid crowded establishments.

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Bring your own utensils

Some people might feel more comfortable when they eat using personal utensils or disposable ones. That's perfectly okay. Taking an extra step of precaution is not something to be embarrassed about. Feel free to pack a bag and bring your own cutlery or water bottle. Plus, it's less work for the kitchen staff too. 

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Avoid high-touch surfaces

High-touch surfaces include things such as menus and door handles. For this, we suggest bringing your own bottle of alcohol (if you aren't doing that already). For concerns about the menu, it's also a good idea to use QR codes or research about the restaurant on your phone. This way, you can avoid having to touch things you don't have to. 

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Make reservations ahead of time

More people have been eating out these days, which means that, with the limited seating capacity that restaurants are implementing, your group may not be guaranteed a seat. Avoid having to wait in line or stay out longer than necessary by making reservations. You can even ask the restaurant if they can guarantee a table at their al fresco area or can request a seat nearest the air purifier. 

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Consider testing

Covid-19 tests have, thankfully, become more accessible than they were when the pandemic started. If you plan on eating with a larger group, consider testing yourself as well as those who will be in attendance. It won't mean that you can disregard other protocol afterward, but it will offer you a peace of mind. It's just another added layer of protection for these unpredictable times. 

See also: Where To Get Tested For Covid-19 In Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya