Customers Were Required to Wear Masks While Walking to Table

Couple walking through a restaurant wearing face masks
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Couple walking through a restaurant wearing face masks

Of all the things the public was asked to do during the pandemic to slow the spread of the disease, this one was among the most mocked and ridiculed. The policy was that while you were walking the 20 steps to your table, you had to keep your mask on your face.

However, as soon as you got to your table, you were free to take you mask off for the entire duration of your meal. It made no sense. Did the virus know you were standing or sitting? Was the 10 second walk riskier than the 45 minutes sitting at the table?

The logic didn’t hold up for many people. Why go through the song and dance of having the mask on during the walk to the table but then be totally fine taking the mask off when you got to the table?

When patrons are seated, this is really when their mouth is doing the busy work. The eating, drinking, and speaking across the table is when the droplets really start flying! The walk to the table is quiet, single-file, and rapid. There is almost a zero percent chance of transmission during that part of the dining experience.

A lot of scientists felt out of the loop on this one. The rule appeared to be a half-measure which allowed the restaurants to be open. It gave the impression that a certain level of consideration was being given to COVID-19 transmission. Almost as if the people in charge were saying, “Yes, we know masks aren’t doing any good, but if you want to still be able to dine out, you must still do what we say.”

The people that complied with wearing masks on the way to the table didn’t do it because they were afraid of getting sick (people that were afraid of getting sick rightfully stayed home). They wore the masks because they wanted to be out in a restaurant with friends and family and didn’t want that privilege to be taken away again. The restaurant owners had the signs up because they didn’t want to get a fine, as they were barely surviving as it was. They also didn’t want to give the government any excuse to shut them down for not complying.

It was all just theater. The masks did nothing in this setting, they were just there for show. People willingly complied to keep the restaurants open and have the freedom to be out and about again.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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