My first venture into the land of COVID

My first venture into the land of COVID

After 5 months isolating on medical advice and surviving on deliveries, I ventured out for the first time, stopping at 3 hotels, dining in 4 restaurants, and dropping into 2 coffee shops. For many it might have been a more gradual experience, for me it was a bit of a shock:
• Everyone was trying in some way or another, but no one got it right.
• It was demoralizing to think that the hospitality industry has to put in place special fixtures and fitting, and must train and equip staff to execute covid protection procedures, for a maximum of, what, half the potential seating. It’s not as if they can charge twice the price. It’s just to keep the business going.
• Most of the staff I encountered appeared to be genuinely happy to see customers, but some were morose and clearly pissed off with all the PPE they have to wear and procedures they have to go through. I for one cannot blame them. I did not enjoy the experience. I like to be relaxed and care-free when I dine out. I don’t like wearing a mask that steams up my glasses, and being attended to by people in masks is more like being in an operating theatre than a restaurant.
• I noticed only some service staff were properly attired, while some showed the classic nose exposure, and others, many others, wore no mask at all.
• Some masks were back to front (I caught myself doing that too!).
• Hardly anyone was using disposable gloves and of those who did almost all looked so soiled as to be a health hazard of their own.
• Off the top of my head, I reckon about 50% of customers wore no mask and in the street it was closer to 90% and social distancing was totally absent.
• I visited three places where I was not stopping over and therefore they did not have my full contact details already, yet in none of those premises was I asked for this information, even though they are required to do so for track and trace purposes. Equally, I suppose, I was at fault for not insisting that I should provide my contact details. Although, if there was no system in pace, where would they make a note of it? On the back of a paper serviette?
• If anyone takes time to look at any hospitality operation and imagine it operating 100% as it should (and believe me, having spoken to some of those in charge of keeping up-to-date with covid requirements, you would not believe the ridiculous lengths they have to go to mitigate the most unlikeliest of scenarios), it is obvious that there are so many gaps in the covid protection regime that the virus could be passed on in numerous ways in even the most fastidiously controlled establishment. The problem is that all premises are constructed differently, and every establishment has its own peculiarities in the way it prepares and serves food, which makes it impossible to devise a one-size-fits-all covid protection regime. There are so many possibilities that any attempt to cover all of them ends up ridiculously complicated, yet if we do nothing at all, the virus will run rampant. At best we have to accept that even with the best intentions, the precautions in place will always be very “leaky” until (and if) a vaccine or a highly effective antiviral drug becomes available.
• The most rigorous covid protection procedures I experienced were at the wineries I had arranged to taste at. I could rank them, but will not because the least best was superior to any restaurant I dined at, and I thank all of them for being so careful.

By | 2020-09-10T19:54:53+00:00 September 10th, 2020|Articles|Comments Off on My first venture into the land of COVID

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