During the lockdown we thought we’d all flood to the bars and restaurants AS SOON AS THEY OPEN!
We’ve endured the lockdown for months and patiently waited to move forward to the next phases. But now that patios are open, why haven’t we ventured out to our local bars and restaurants to enjoy each other’s company while we sit at a patio?
I spoke to a group of single people in Toronto, Canada. They have been in isolation ALONE …. FOR MONTHS… so surely they should have been the first ones sitting at those patios. Here are 5 reasons that kept popping up as reasons they have not visited a patio:
1. The issues with unnecessary travel apply to unnecessary outings! Some people truly believe that each time you leave your home, you are taking a health risk. So they ask themselves, is it worth it to meet up for drinks with friends and risk exposure to a virus? But l ask you this, if the risk was soo high; why would our officials allow the reopening of patios? Surely, with the right measures in place, we can still enjoy a patio experience and catch up with friends we haven’t seen in months?
2. Who’s monitoring the venues to make sure they are safe? We understand that venues have been given guidance and mandates by our public health officials on what measures they need to implement to protect public health but what are those measures? And who’s tracking if these venues are actually implementing everything?
3. What is the protocol when you get to the patio? Ok this is A BIG ONE! We still don’t understand what will happen if we are brave enough to visit a patio. What actually happens when we get there? Are they asking the COVID questions at the door? Are they checking temperature at the door? Do l have to wear my mask the whole time? How are they cleaning each area before they show me to my seat? Oh oh oh; and lets talk about the dishes, how do l know its safe to use the cutlery lol – does each fork need extra sterilization before l can enjoy my salad, lol?
4. Can we network and talk to strangers? So lets start with can we even still sit at the bar? If so, do l have to wear a mask the entire time? Ok say we cannot sit at the bar, then am l limited to only speaking to the people in my group? Some of us are serial networkers (or maybe just single) and we would struggle not being able to talk to other people when we go out.
5. Is there a time limit for a booking? With the limited outdoor seating space that most venues have, are there rules on how long l can take up a table? Surely, they are losing revenue if l sit there for 3 hours and order a salad and some water… and yet, its also not fair for groups to take up the patio space for too long since others want to enjoy the experience.
Clearly there is a lot of FEAR on what the repercussions of daring to go out and enjoy a patio experience could be. Our communities have been through a lot this year and we have endured the fear of the unknown through it all. So this is just another one of those things.
So how can venues encourage and support the public to dare to venture out and enjoy a patio? We need information – we want to understand what each venue is doing to protect public health. We want information on what to expect when we get to the patio. Is there a list of COVID friendly restaurants that l can look through?