Illinois is now in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan and some restaurants are open for inside dining. With much greater risks than outside dining and with Covid cases now on the rise in Illinois, it is long overdue to make inside dining much safer than it is now.
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-
Now that Illinois is open for inside dining, it is likely that many of the people that will be testing positive for Covid-19 in the coming days or weeks will have dined inside at one or more restaurants. Vacation season will also bring additional visitors from other cities, other states, and even other countries to our local restaurants We are currently Covid-19 out of control 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 where we have few ICU beds.
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 going to be hired. But will there be enough? You can help.
In the same way that ‘Adopt a Highway’ works to keep our highways free of litter, ‘Sign In to Dine In’ contact tracing asks ordinary people to adopt their favorite restaurant(s) and ask/help them introduce a simple, voluntary, almost no cost program that would be invaluable to local health department contact tracers track the virus in the event an employee or diner at a restaurant tests positive for Covid-19.
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. 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.Click here or on image to download above printable “Sign In to Dine In” sign
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.:
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: