Letter: Information about restaurant reopening mitigation requested | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Information about restaurant reopening mitigation requested

Dear editor,

I was wondering if your able reporters could do some research that could develop answers and data to ease my nervousness about the reopening of Routt County businesses.

I’m not nervous about grocery shopping for several reasons. Most stores have ample air volume with their high ceilings, have limits on customer numbers, and folks are very good about wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot distance from others. If the COVID-19 virus is present in those environments, the viral load is low, and an efficient shopping trip isn’t going to be high risk.

Similarly, I’m not too nervous about other shops, though the prospect of getting a haircut just now would give me pause. I am most nervous about restaurants and bars. My highest comfort level would be with outdoor dining. Outdoor dining, with good distancing and a slight breeze, should be low enough risk for me or anyone.

What about indoor dining? That’s where I’d like more information, perhaps in a spreadsheet or chart worked out by your reporters, with the help of health department and building department experts.

Has restaurant X reduced the density of seating? Has it installed barriers of plexiglass or even shower curtains to diminish air exchange from one table to the next? Does restaurant Y have an HVAC system that provides a continual supply of fresh air or does it re-circulate air. What about air filters? How good are they? Which restaurants have the best air  systems, the worst?

Washington state has some good ideas worth emulating. There, table seating is limited to five. Everyone’s contact information at a table is logged for possible use by contact/tracers. Menus are single use. Condiments are either cleaned between customers or are individual servings. Staff — waiters and cooks — are always masked. Customers dine/drink without a mask but are encouraged to mask when entering, leaving or using the restroom.

Please give me and your readers useful information, so we can properly evaluate risk when going to a restaurant.


Brodie Farquhar

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Letter to the Editor