As I walk into the grocery store with 30 other people at the same time, I think about my restaurant which allows parties of 6 total, and meticulously spaces out reservations by 10 minutes ensuring guests that aren’t from the same party do not arrive at the same time.
As I take a cart, that has had just the handle sanitized, I think about my restaurant which invested thousands of dollars (so far) on ink and paper to print disposable menus to ensure no two guests touch the same menu.
As I walk over to the produce aisle with 15-20 other people around me, I’m reminded of the strict “no mingling / no walking around the restaurant other than to use the washroom or enter/exit” policy we have in place and the 6ft distance between tables which has cut our capacity in half.
As I watch the woman next to me pick up apples with her hand, check them over closely and then put them back on the open pile and repeats this until she finds the perfect apples — the same thing that all other people that day who want an apple will then do and then put those apples into their mouths, I think about the two step sanitation process in place at my restaurant for all cutlery and dishes and glassware in between every single guest, and the sanitation of every surface guests touch (tables, chairs, salt and pepper shakers, etc).
As I watch the man in the next aisle over ignore or not notice the directional arrows on the ground, I think about my restaurant and the constant redirecting our staff does of guests - by locking certain doors, blocking areas off and the work my team does to simply not allow guests to walk where they are not supposed to.
As I walk down the cereal aisle, I see a person with their mask off so they can talk on the phone, and I’m reminded of my restaurant where our masking policy has lost us so much business.
As I check out at the cashier, I use my debit card to pay and see the plastic film covering the terminal. It was not sanitized after the person before me used it. I am reminded of the sanitizer used on the debit terminals in between each guest every time at my restaurant.
As I stand at a crowded exit trying to leave, I’m reminded of the detailed contact tracing in place at my restaurant that records the name, phone number, table number, arrival and exit time, as well as the server and section the guest sat in that is in place at my restaurant— not one of those pieces of information was taken from any customer here.
As I get into my car and watch all these people leave the store, I wonder which person will visit my establishment after contracting covid at this grocery store, and I wonder why on earth my restaurant will be blamed as the source.
Restaurants are being targeted as the “source” of Covid infections because we are one of the ONLY industries required to provide contact tracing.
Someone with Covid could have gone to Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, the Mall food court....any grocery store, etc. Yet it’s the restaurant that took their detailed information that will be forced to close and deemed responsible for the infection.
You want to blame restaurants for the spread after thousands of dollars investing in equipment, training and stricter policies than ANYWHERE ELSE?!