Indoor dining in the winter: How safe is it?

Local News

CORNELL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As temperatures drop and outdoor dining seems less exciting, more people may be looking to eat indoors. So, how safe is it?

It’s doable but you’ll have to make adjustments, both physically and financially.

“One of the big issues there, is going to be how they’re going to manage their occupancy,” said Nellie Brown, director of Workplace Health and Safety programs at Cornell.

Restaurant owners will have to ask themselves whether they can bring in enough revenue to make it worth it. If the answer is yes, Brown says they’ll need a good safety plan.

“What is it that your employees are going to touch, will they pre-wrap the silverware while wearing gloves,” she said.

Other safety measures include using plastic barriers, spacing out tables, and limiting contact as much as possible.

The things you would normally have on a dining table, in terms of seasoning and condiments and so forth, you really want to not use those types of common dispensers. You want to be able to have things pre-packaged, you know whether it’s your ketchup, your sugar, whatever it might be.

Nellie Brown — Director of Workplace Health and Safety programs at Cornell

You’re also encouraged to have a MERV 13 air filter or better. If not, “You may be able to open some windows in other places and kind of compensate with that, and that can help. Even a little bit of window opening is valuable,” she said.

Leaving the windows open may spark an increase in your electric bill, but even that might be worth it to keep your doors open.

“Temporary solutions till we can get to the other side of this pandemic and hope that businesses can survive the interim,” said Brown.

As for fans, Brown says if you need them they should face at a wall or the floor, otherwise, they can blow the virus from one sick person to a healthy one.


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