How to eat out in restaurants in summer 2020

With lockdown lifted, many restaurants are reopening this summer. If you're anxious about dining out, discover our top tips and what to expect.

Tapas spread on table

The government recently announced that we can leave #quarantinelife to safely dine at pubs and restaurants. For some of us, it’s all we’ve been looking forward to. At the same time, there’s a deep level of anxiety associated with the thought of socialising in pubs and restaurants at this time.

To help with that, here are a few things to think about as you grab your mask and venture out to eat safely at restaurants this summer. 

1. Book ahead 

Social distancing rules are in place to make sure that people can eat at restaurants safely, but this also means that a restaurant’s capacity can be as low as 45 per cent. So, until we get back to ‘normal’, it’s best to book ahead. This is also the time to ask for any seating requests, as they might not be able to accommodate when you get there. And yes, unfortunately, this may be the case for pubs too – it’s worth checking before popping into your local for a quick pint.

2. Pick your restaurant companion(s) carefully

We all got a bit weird and sensitive during lockdown. With this in mind, it’s no time to arrange restaurant outings with people who even slightly got on your nerves before lockdown. This is not the time for heroics. Recent ASMR TikTok addicts and/or amateur conspiracy theory friends can wait until, say, October 2021 for their slot. This is the opportunity to be with people you genuinely like. 

3. Turn up 

We get it. Things happen and there are very valid reasons for cancelling a booking. But while businesses are trying to get back on their feet, a complete no-show has a huge negative impact for them, and an economic knock-on effect for the whole hospitality ecosystem. Turn up to your bookings, and if you can’t, it only takes a minute to call to cancel your reservation. 

4. Keep it sanitary 

Yes, your ‘I didn’t shower today’ streak was weirdly impressive, but no one is in the mood for another full lockdown. So, don’t forget to wear a mask on the way to the restaurant if travelling on public transport. Remember to wash or sanitise your hands when you get there (keep a bottle of hand sanitiser on you at all times). And don’t be alarmed if the waiting staff are wearing masks.

5. Be kind

It’s been a rough few months and you may well have forgotten the art of conversation and how to dress for the outside world – but remember to be kind to those around you. Don’t forget your manners when dining out, even if you forgot to check if your socks match.

6. Enjoy yourself 

You’ve waited long enough!

7. Order dessert

And another glass of wine. You might as well now you’re out. For the economy’s sake. 

8. Leave a tip

Some establishments are doing deals or passing on tax cuts savings to the customers who dine in. Don’t forget to add a little extra to the service charge if you can to show your appreciation for those working hard.

9. Show some love and spread the word

After enjoying yourself, don’t forget to do a little social media PDA. Take all the food photos. Share on your Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and with your groups on WhatsApp – let everyone know you had a safe and fun experience out. 

10. Book your next meal 

Start the process all over again. Maybe you’re a little more tolerant now and can handle your ASMR loving friend – after all, they also wanted to check out that little cute spot you were meaning to get to before lockdown.

Which restaurants are you planning on visiting? Leave a comment below...

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