outdoor dining

Four Tech Tools to Make Outdoor Dining Safer amid a Pandemic

As restaurants and food establishments resume their operations, governments and health officials are establishing health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help operators reduce health risks for customers and employees.

Restaurant owners are implementing safety guidelines and buying safety equipment to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in their establishments. Some examples are the use of touchless faucets, digital menus, enclosed bussing carts, sanitizer dispensers, and other COVID-19 support products. All these tools help in making on-site dining, delivery, and curbside pickup more convenient and safe.

But for restaurants blessed with spacious areas and great climate, outdoor dining became an essential lifeline to accommodate more customers while providing a safer dining experience. In turn, more customers are trying outdoor dining to enjoy the scenery while staying safe from any health risks.

As safety restrictions gradually ease, outdoor dining offers a unique experience to restaurant patrons. With the assistance of tech tools, outdoor dining becomes easier and safer with COVID-19 precautions in mind. So if you’re planning to dine out amid a pandemic, here are tech tips to ensure a safe outdoor dining experience.

Social distancing applications

Since the pandemic, health experts and officials have instructed individuals to maintain six feet distance when coming into contact with people outside their household. While this serves as extra protection from infected people, many are left confused on how they should maintain six feet distance at all times.

Today, smartphone applications are available to help users maintain physical distance from other people while dining, walking, or waiting in line. These apps will tell you about the amount of distance you have and avoid direct contact with strangers.

One example is the Social Distance Training, intended for teachers and students to identify what social distancing feels and looks like in augmented reality (AR) by using a holographic individual to form a distance simulation. Although it doesn’t notify the user of how close they are to others, it helps them understand what six feet look when you’re standing in line.

Android has Sodar, an AR tool that visualizes social distancing guidelines in the user’s environment. It relies on AR by creating a two-meter radius ring around the user.

Google Maps “Explore“maps app

For those who want to take advantage of outdoor dining, Google Maps helps users find places where they can eat safely. If you’re having a hard time navigating an area, the “Explore” feature in Google Maps will help you dive into general categories you want to know more about, such as parks, coffee shops, bars, and gas stations. This feature is available only in selected areas, but those who can access it will find this feature convenient if they want to escape crowds.

A great tip is to use the “COVID-19 info” on Google Maps to know the daily number of COVID-19 cases of a particular area and help you decide if you should try outdoor dining in nearby restaurants.

Several U.S. states have partnered with tech giants Google and Apple for COVID-19 contact tracing. They were able to produce an application for iOS and Android devices with a built-in COVID-19 exposure alert tool. Users have to download the application and turn on the notification to receive alerts to be included in the notification system. Afterward, registered phones communicate via Bluetooth using random IDs. From there, the app will constantly check the IDs against those IDs from people who are COVID-19 positive.

When a patient with a linked ID turned out positive for COVID-19, everyone who has previous exposure with the patient will receive a notification and detailed guidance about staying safe. The app is very useful in informing people who come into contact with a COVID-19 patient and preventing them to go out if they got infected.

Restaurant apps

People living in cities should take advantage of applications that help them find restaurants safe for indoor and outdoor dining. It lets you explore local establishments through a filter location feature and determine their safety guidelines, outdoor dining availability, and safety reviews.

Most restaurants heavily rely on digital applications to maintain contact-free transactions with their customers. Restaurants have QR codes in place of physical menus, which allows diners to browse the menu right on their smartphone. Meanwhile, the majority of restaurants are offering a variety of contact-free payment modes to prevent the handling of cash or credit card.

As life slowly regains its sense of normalcy, it’s still important to follow health and safety guidelines to stay healthy amid a health crisis. In turn, businesses should make extra effort to safeguard the health of their employees, customers, and community to stop the spread of the virus. All these reasons are key ways to help businesses resume their operations and stay afloat during a pandemic.

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