Only Dumbass Will Go to Dinner This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is 10 days away, and this is the time when straight people usually visit OpenTable trying to book a table at a “special” restaurant for a “special” evening. This year we all have an excuse to skip this whole challenge, but something (social media) tells me that some people are still planning on dining out. Do not do it. Only a weakling could do it.

I don’t live in New York, but the sight of the uber-wacky Andrew Cuomo going to resume indoor power in much of the state on February 14 highlighted my dull pandemic depression, making it acute and harsh; seeing him turn around and mock those who demand the vaccination of workers whom he endangers, in turn, caused me to stab myself .

The food in the restaurant is unsafe. It is not safe for you. It is not safe for your date. It is unsafe for the restaurant workers. Even if everything is “right” in a restaurant, no security measures are perfect. After all, a pandemic is a numbers game, and increasing the number of people you interact with indoors (or even outdoors for a long time) is a bad idea. You can get (and transmit) COVID even if you are doing everything “right” and even if you have no symptoms , but sitting inside a building with airborne droplets throughout a romantic dinner is not like “doing everything. right ”seems to be. If you find it difficult to understand why this is a bad idea, think of coronavirus as a poisonous splendor:

By the time the virus begins to rage in your area, it is more likely to exceed your precautions. Think glitter crafting: If you only give the glitter a few minutes to finish off your project, you can save it and you can vacuum up the random bits you missed. But if your child went on a field trip to the sequins factory and swam in things, there will be sequins in your sock drawer the next day, even if you do your best, starting with watering her off before she comes into the house.

Health concerns aside, eating out on this Valentine’s Day won’t be as sexy as it should be . I don’t know about you, but sitting at uncomfortable tables and taking off my mask to drink wine in between talking with someone who is literally putting their lives in danger due to financial necessity does not make me feel in love. Such a scene makes me yearn not for a partner, but for the death of capitalism.

Al fresco dining is a safer option, as long as you actually sit outdoors rather than eating in a small room or tent with plastic walls . But even that seems dumb given that February 14 is the day many people will be trying to find a swanky outdoor space, which means these open spaces (and their internal bathrooms) are likely to be full. I don’t know if you dined outdoors or often went to the grocery store during this pandemic, but many people ignore the six-foot rule, and adding a bottle of red wine or champagne to the mixture only makes people look more sloppy, less diligent, and less aware of their closeness to others (and the state of their mask).

If your desire to dine on this Victory Day really has something to do with “supporting restaurants”, you should order takeaway. If you’re worried about waiters missing out on tips, call the restaurant and ask how you can tip them, even if you won’t be physically dining at the restaurant. If you are really worried about the restaurant and its staff, do a little work, pick up the phone and ask them what they need from their regular customers right now.

If you still think you have a good reason to dine at a restaurant on February 14th, ask a restaurant employee about it. See what they think you should do, remembering that a restaurant employee is different from a restaurant owner . Restaurant owners are bosses who find themselves in an impossible position due to a political system that doesn’t care if their business survives this crisis, but in an effort to stay afloat and pay their employees, some are lobbying for less COVID restrictions. and ignore pre-existing bans , trapping themselves in a cycle in which their efforts to ensure their employees actually endanger them.

I love restaurants and miss dining there – even on crappy, dumb, obscene holidays like Valentine’s Day. I love people who work in restaurants, both existentially and intimately. I’ve watched some of my best friends lose their jobs, deal with severe anxiety and depression, and contract COVID, all because our government refuses to provide significant assistance to their industry. Every owner and manager I know has a fear that they are doing the wrong thing for their employees, although staying open during a pandemic is the only way they can afford to keep paying them. (While the two new edicts have brought some relief, they are far from sufficient.)

If you have the option to stay home this Valentine’s Day, do so. People who work in restaurants do not have this opportunity because they need money to pay rent and feed themselves and their families. Please, I beg you, just order the damn takeaway food and put it on the “pretty” plates. Order lots of takeaway food – order the entire menu, plus drinks and dessert! Then the tip is really good. Prevent respiratory droplets from entering the dining room. I don’t know if that’s enough to keep your favorite restaurant afloat until Valentine’s Day 2022, but at least it will help keep the people who work there safe.


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