"Both waiters and customers wear masks. Diners can remove them to eat and drink..."

"... tucking them safely into an envelope the restaurant provides. Every surface is sanitized every half-hour. Customers have accepted the protocols, [one restaurateur] said. They’ve had to turn away only one for having a slight fever, and sent off a grumpy party of six that wanted to sit together. 'People are honestly much more understanding about everything now,' she said. 'They’re grateful they can go out and feel comfortable.... If you’ve managed to build a brand and built and cultivated integrity, people will trust you when you are allowed to open the door again.'... Is the urge to sit in a restaurant so great that customers will endure an experience that is more like a trip to the dental hygienist? Will they risk infection, even in a place with the safest protocols?... 'At the end of the day, we’re problem solvers and we will find a way to do this,' [said another restaurateur]. 'The restaurant industry is about constant chaos and writing a ballet out of that chaos. We’ve spent all of our careers preparing for this moment.'"

From "Safe Dining? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying/Though widespread reopenings may be a long way off, chefs and health officials have begun studying how a post-pandemic restaurant might look" (NYT).

Health has always been something restaurants have had to worry about getting right. Whenever we've gone to a restaurant, we've trusted the place not to damage our health. They make substances in the back room that we inject* into our body. The servers go to the bathroom and we've been trusting that they wash their hands thoroughly. We're more alert now and paying attention. There's a specific new danger on the list of things that could find their way into your body from a restaurant.

Restaurants get to earn our trust all over again, and we get to think carefully about how much we're going to put our lives in their (presumably washed) hands. Some of us, I think, have developed stronger feelings about how much restaurants mean to us, and others are more wary than ever about the agents of disease that lurk there. We all change and adapt. I'd like to think that makes us better and stronger.


* I'm just needling you. "Inject" means "To drive or force (a fluid, etc.) into a passage or cavity, as by means of a syringe, or by some impulsive power; said esp. of the introduction of medicines or other preparations into the cavities or tissues of the body" (OED). I don't really think "inject" is an accurate way to describe eating (unless it's something like the way geese eat in the production of foie gras).

BUT: Etymologically, the original meaning of "inject" is to throw in. We do speak of throwing back a few drinks.

AND: We do speak of injecting a little humor. We might say that Trump was injecting a little humor when he (lyingly) claimed to have been using sarcasm when words ejected from him that seemed to suggest that disinfectant of the sort that you'd use to wipe down a tabletop could be injected into the human body.

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