Dining inside or outside, even with 6 foot social distancing, has its risks. Cough or sneeze droplets can travel 20 feet in an enclosed space or even calm air. You can’t wear a mask and eat. So 6 feet between tables may not be enough to protect you.
"We have the makings of a perfect storm as states open up: asymptomatic, unmasked, COVID-19 carriers potentially transmitting the disease to those nearby just by talking.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health recently used laser light-scattering technology to demonstrate that normal speech emits thousands of oral fluid droplets that can persist in the air within a closed environment for up to 14 minutes." -CNN-
As we open for inside dining, it is likely that many of the people that will be testing positive for Covid-19 will have dined inside at one or more restaurants. Vacation season will also bring visitors from other cities, other states, and even other countries to our local restaurants We are currently seeing rapid increases of Covid-19 in states that may have opened too early. If a visitor stopping for a meal while passing through happens to be a super spreader, then we may have a new hot spot where few or no cases of Covid-19 had existed before, especially in rural Illinois.
Originally, in order for a region to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4, that region needed “contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90% of cases." But Gov. Pritzker has backtracked on contact tracing.
Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Both Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, say that contact tracing is essential for opening the economy safely. On May 29 Gov. Pritzker said that contact tracing is only being done on about 30% of the known cases, far short of the 90% goal. Dr. Ezike said it is an “internal goal.”
If you dined inside at the same time and same restaurant as someone later found to be infected by the Covid-19, wouldn't you want to be notified so that you can take steps to protect you and your family?
In the coming weeks, hundreds of contact tracers are supposedly going to be hired. Here is a simple contact tracing idea that restaurants can adopt right now to help our contact tracers.
Sign In to Dine In is a voluntary program that asks restaurants to voluntarily initiate a policy of asking people wishing sit down dining to have one person in a party sign in provide their contact information in a register before they are seated.
How you can personally help in the effort to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
We all have a favorite mom and pop restaurant and we want to see those restaurants survive the pandemic. They are overwhelmed with just the tasks of re-opening.
So, I am asking each of you to help your favorite restaurant(s) out by making them a Sign In to Dine In Guest Book.:
- Take an ordinary 3 ring binder,
- Download the Contact Tracing Sign In sheet below,
- Make at least 25 copies of the Contact Tracing Sign In sheets,
- Three hole punch the sheets,
- Stick them in binder. Done.
Note: In order to minimize customer inconvenience and assure legibility, the number of fill-in spaces is kept to a minimum. Email is not asked for because people because people are hesitant to trust email sender. Time seated is also not asked for since all of the entries are sequential. So it is pretty easy to determine the priority in which other diners need to be contacted.
You don’t have to use my sample form. Create your own downloadable form with the name and logo of your organization on it and post it on your organization's website and social media. Show the community that your organization is an active participant in the fight to stop the Covid-19 Pandemic.
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What incentive is there for restaurants to adopt Sign In to Dine In? I can think of three:
- Restaurants will be potentially be saving lives, possibly many lives should a super-spreader visit their restaurant.
- Restaurants build a customer list. They can add an optional email line to the sheet so they can send customers coupons and specials.
- As sure as death and taxes, there are vulture personal injury lawyers itching to sue restaurant owners if someone dies from Covid-19 and it is traced back to their restaurant.