Tag: covid19

6 Ways to Be Kind to Food Servers

These are unprecedented times. As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, people have had to adapt to many significant changes in a relatively short period of time. Throughout the pandemic, many hardworking individuals have helped to keep the world moving forward in an uncertain time. Though many food servers have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs during the pandemic, many more have continued to work.

Restaurants are vital components of local communities, serving as more than just somewhere to enjoy a great meal. Restaurants are gathering places and have helped people get out of the house during the age of social distancing. Servers are at the heart of the restaurant industry, and there are various ways to show them how much their efforts are appreciated.

1. Leave a sizable tip. Etiquette suggests customers tips servers anywhere between 15 and 20 percent. Because servers today are increasingly putting their health on the line, why not increase that tip to 25 or 30 percent? Such tips can provide some financial relief to servers whose earnings have been adversely affected by the pandemic and a bigger tip lets servers know their efforts are appreciated.

2. Write a thank-you note. Jot a few words of encouragement on the back of the bill or receipt. If time allows, thank the server in person for a job well done.

3. Don’t forget school staff. While certain schools are still serving breakfast and lunch to students, others have had to forego in-person dining at school due to local regulations and capacity restrictions. However, food servers and other staff may still be distributing food to those who qualify for financial assistance. Food services is often an overlooked job in the school system and parents can offer small tokens of appreciation to these workers.

4. Be courteous and kind. Food servers experience all sorts of personalities during a typical workday. Being kind and respectful brighten up a server’s day.

5. Be a tidy customer. Do your best to leave a tidy table behind when you finish your meal. Collect trash and dispose of it properly. Try to be as neat as possible, stacking dishes and preventing items from falling on the floor so servers and bussers have an easier go of it.

6. Follow restaurant rules. Policies regarding in-person dining and mask usage vary depending on local laws. Follow the rules so you don’t put servers’ health at risk.

Food servers have faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic. Customers can do many things to show their servers how much their efforts are appreciated.

Safe Entertaining Options

Entertaining has changed quite a bit in 2020. Government-issued restrictions dictated how many people you could invite into your home or even your backyard. Large family gatherings, such as weddings or birthday parties, were put on hold. Many people are still cautious about crowds and maintaining their distance, even from close friends and family and even as safety protocols have been loosened.

Those who are eagerly awaiting hosting dinner parties or backyard gatherings can take various steps to ensure the health and safety of their guests. These guidelines can help make entertaining that much safer.

Keep the guest list small

While you may want to invite as many people as possible, keeping the guest list small can help you keep better track of contact tracing should anyone develop symptoms or feel ill. It also limits the number of people with whom you come in contact. If you plan on entertaining routinely, stick to the same guest list over and over rather than inviting new people.

Maintain social distancing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge people to remain at least six feet apart from one another. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets also can be inhaled into the lungs. The CDC and other health organizations maintain that keeping at least a six feet from others reduces the likelihood that respiratory droplets will land on another person. More distance is always better. Leave room between seats around the dining table, and discourage crowding around entertaining areas.

Wear masks

Masks can be worn when maintaining distance is not possible. Although masks may not always be comfortable or fashionable, there are ways to incorporate them into the theme of your gathering. Ask everyone to wear a specific color or style of mask. Purchase extra masks for guests if you suspect someone may not own one.

Offer individual portions

Self-service buffets and drink bars may be risky. Instead, you can don proper safety gear and serve food to your guests to minimize the amount of people touching food or beverages. Have individual drinks Canned soft drinks, beers or small bottles of wine may also help limit the spread of the virus by providing individually portioned beverages rather than having people pour or ladle drinks out of communal offerings.

Provide hand-cleaning options

Encourage guests to wash their hands frequently and make sure there’s plenty of soap in the bathroom. Individual paper towels, while not as eco-friendly as reusable cloth towels, also can improve bathroom hygiene. Keep containers of hand sanitizer in high-traffic spots around the entertaining area as well.

Check for symptoms

No one wants to play bouncer at their own dinner party, but checking to make sure guests are well or experiencing symptoms can minimize risk. The CDC urges anyone who is feeling unwell to avoid gatherings.

Hosting a gathering in the era of COVID-19 can be challenging. However, it’s possible to do so safely if hosts and their guests adhere to safety precautions set forth by local governments and the CDC.

How to Effectively and Safely Sanitize a Car

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people live. One readily felt effect was spending more time at home. Vehicles sat idle in driveways and even some automotive insurance providers reduced rates because people were driving much less. Even with stay-at-home measures in place, people still need to leave their homes to stock up on essentials, such as food or medicine. In other cases, people may have been essential workers who drive for a living, including delivery drivers or health care personnel who were incapable of working from home.

Any time a person goes out in public, he or she runs the risk of contracting viruses. Bacteria and germs may reside on various surfaces, including those inside vehicles. People want to protect themselves and now are more aware of the importance of frequently cleaning and sanitizing their cars. Keeping a vehicle safe to drive without affecting its upholstery or electronic components is paramount. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes a distinction between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but can lower their numbers. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. The following are some ways to deeply clean and sanitize a car.

• Wash hands. First and foremost, it is crucial to wash your hands before and after using the car. This can reduce the likelihood of growing ill because of transferred viruses or bacteria.

• Use rubbing alcohol. Solutions that contain 70 percent alcohol are effective against many viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses, says the CDC. Furthermore, Jeff Stout, Executive Director of Global Innovation at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, says that, for the most part, nearly every interior surface of a vehicle can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. Plastic to painted chrome to imitation leather have been tested to ensure they don’t degrade when exposed to pure isopropyl alcohol.

• Avoid bleach or hydrogen peroxide. While bleach and peroxide are very effective cleaners and sanitizers, they are likely to damage a car’s upholstery, according to Consumer Reports.

• Use soap and water: Experts say that vigorous washing with a soap-and-water solution can be effective against many contaminants because it breaks down the protective envelope that surrounds coronaviruses and other germs to disarm them. Friction also can help to break down germ cells during cleaning. “You want to do the best with what you have, so even soap and water can chip away at the risk,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases and Director of Global Health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

• Address frequently touched surfaces. Pay attention to the steering wheel, door handles, buttons, touchscreen displays, shift lever, and more when sanitizing. Each of these items can harbor germs.

Deep-cleaning a vehicle has become a necessity since COVID-19 emerged. Frequently cleaning and sanitizing can help make vehicles safer to operate.

Everyone Can Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19, Here’s How

As businesses and services reopen nationwide, the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, and experts warn that Americans must continue taking precautions to help stop the spread of the virus.

“In states across the country, the spread of COVID-19 is staggering and concerning. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread and protecting ourselves, our family and our neighbors,” says Susan R. Bailey, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “The science is clear. We know what stops the spread of the virus – wearing cloth face masks, physical distancing and regularly washing hands — and it is on all of us to practice these steps. Without a vaccine for this novel virus, the only way to turn the tide and recapture a sense of normal is by working together.”

The AMA offers the following guidance and insights that can help keep you, your friends and your loved ones healthy and safe.

• Wear a cloth face mask: Take the simple steps that science has shown will help stop the spread of the virus: wearing a cloth face mask, maintaining physical distancing and washing your hands. The simplest tried-and-true methods are still the most important.

• Keep up with doctor visits: Before you decide to forgo routine care or screenings, talk to your doctor. Physicians are using telehealth services and have taken painstaking precautions to make their practices safe. Make sure you keep up with your vaccines, and don’t let something that in normal circumstances could be handled with an early visit to your physician land you in the hospital.

• Be mindful that re-opening is not the same as a return to normal: When indoors, wear a mask, even in restaurants and stores that are open. Consider dining outdoors whenever possible. Stay connected with friends and family, but do so in a physically-distant and safe manner, including small outdoors gatherings where masks and hand sanitizer are used.

• Take time to clear your head and rest: With many people working from home or working under more stressful conditions, it is important to take mental health breaks. Get up and move, take a walk outside, step away from the computer, and take days or hours off from work.

As the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders, researchers and public health experts want Americans to know that it is within their power to help stop the spread of the virus.

Safely Shop for Groceries While Social Distancing

As recently as a few months ago, grocery shopping was an uneventful chore that few people were likely to remember after returning home. But in the wake of efforts to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, grocery shopping changed in ways that few people will ever forget.

Social distancing guidelines and recommendations urged consumers to stay in their homes as much as possible, but grocery shopping requires people to spend time outside their homes. A few simple strategies can help shoppers stay safe as they shop for groceries.

• Wear a mask. Safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are evolving as scientists learn more about COVID-19. One of the more significant changes the CDC made to its initial guidelines was to recommend people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. As communities begin to reopen, certain restrictions may be relaxed, but the CDC continues to advise people to wear masks while out in public, including when shopping for groceries. The CDC notes that wearing masks may slow the spread of the virus by preventing people who have it but are asymptomatic from transmitting it to others.

• Shop during off-peak hours. Traditionally “off-peak” hours may no longer apply at many grocery stores, the majority of which have changed their store hours so staff can thoroughly clean and disinfect stores each night. But even if stores are not open as late as they used to be, there’s still times of day when fewer customers will likely be in the store. Early mornings may be designated for shoppers in vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. However, many stores remain less crowded in the mornings than they are during the rest of the day. Avoid shopping on weekends if you want to steer clear of crowds, as these are the only times when people who are still working can find time to shop. Weekday mornings or late afternoons may be ideal times to shop for shoppers who want to avoid crowds.

• Wash hands before and after going to the store. The CDC continues to tout the importance of washing hands as a means to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Scientists are still unsure about how easily the virus can spread from contact with potentially contaminated surfaces, but washing hands before and after shopping is a simple safety measure that prevents the spread of germs and potentially harmful viruses like COVID-19.

• Avoid touching your face. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology note that respiratory infections can be caused by an assortment of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing germs. Scientists believe COVID-19 is spread through the respiratory droplets of infected persons. These droplets are essentially invisible, but when people come into contact with them and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, viruses can spread. So people should avoid touching their face with potentially dirty hands.

Grocery shopping has changed as the world reacts to the COVID-19 virus. As communities begin to reopen, it’s important that people remain diligent when shopping for groceries, taking every step necessary to protect themselves and others from contracting this potentially deadly virus.

How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings

In an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where it can be difficult to maintain social distancing measures. That means people are advised to wear cloth face coverings while shopping for groceries or in any other settings where it might be difficult to stay at least six feet away from other people. In recognition that the notion of wearing face coverings while in public is foreign to many people, the CDC issued instructions on how to wear such coverings to ensure they provide as much protection as possible.

How to wear cloth face coverings

The CDC notes that cloth face coverings should:

• fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

• be secured with ties or ear loops • include multiple layers of fabric

• allow for breathing without restriction

Additional guidelines

The CDC says face coverings should be avoided by certain people. Such coverings should not be placed on children under age two. In addition, people who have trouble breathing, those who are incapacitated and people who cannot remove coverings without assistance should not wear them.

The CDC also notes that cloth face coverings does not refer to surgical masks or N-95 respirators. The CDC urges everyone to reserve such supplies for health care workers and other medical first responders. Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed. A washing machine should be enough to clean these coverings.

When removing cloth face coverings, do so carefully. The CDC urges people to avoid touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth when removing their face coverings. Once the coverings are removed, people should wash their hands immediately. Cloth face coverings can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While wearing such coverings is a simple gesture, it’s also one that can save lives. More information is available at www.cdc.gov.