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How to be a good customer in a post-COVID world

Get out of the house for a bite or a beer, but stay safe.


Nova Scotia’s reopening day has us all thinking about getting out of our homes to head to the nearest salon, massage therapist or patio. But don’t be too fast. Before launching yourself into the economy on June 5 or after, it's important to familiarize yourself with the regulations for living in a world where COVID-19 is still lurking.

1Know the rules ahead of time
Whether you're headed to the barber or the bar, every industry has a set of regulations that govern it. This article focuses on the food and beverage industry, and you can find guidelines from the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia here.

Who’s joining you? Nova Scotia’s current gathering limit is 10 people, but Nova Scotia's public health supremo Robert Strang says because of the close proximity at restaurants, people sitting at the same table must all be in the same household bubble.

Did you call ahead? Some restaurants and pubs are operating under an entirely new dynamic. They may have reduced hours or be taking reservations when they wouldn’t normally. Call in advance to see if there’s anything special you need to know.

2 Stay sanitized
When you show up, wear a mask. If you plan on eating or drinking, chances are you can’t wear it the whole time. But you should wear it on bathroom trips, when paying, and when entering and exiting the restaurant.

If you can, bring hand sanitizer or wipes. Restaurants are supposed to have these on hand to wipe your table before and after you eat, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and you can ensure you protect the staff who have to clean up after you.

Stay home if you’re feeling sick. We hope this goes without saying. Nobody’s grandma needs to get COVID-19 because you wanted a craft beer or a burrito.

3 Be gracious
Many servers have been called back to work as of June 5. Some are  healthy, but some are immune-compromised and scared. Others have families to feed and can’t afford not to work. If you’re headed out to eat, make sure you tip well. That means at least 15 percent (but hopefully more).

Expect delays and mistakes. If your order is taking too long, maybe there are 25 take-out orders sitting in the back because they switched to delivery during COVID. If a restaurant isn’t doing something the same as everyone else, remember that public health regulations probably weren’t created with the little guys in mind.

Restaurants are learning too, just like customers. The RANS guidelines were only approved and published on May 27, just nine days before the grand re-opening. And the government tasked RANS with getting the word out to all restaurants—not just RANS members—which is a new role for the association, too. If you have a concern about a restaurant you go to, try talking with staff to make sure they're aware of all the guidelines.

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