A Guide to Dining Out During COVID-19

Dining out is back. It just looks different as coronavirus-related restrictions ease.

Restaurants in South Bend, Mishawaka and the surrounding area are still abiding by social distancing guidelines and best practices to keep customers safe. They’re not operating at full capacity – 75 percent in Stage 4 of the Back on Track Indiana plan – and many are using modified hours.

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It can be a confusing time to grab a bite to eat. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five things to think about and expect before you visit a restaurant in our community.

Call Before You Go

Hours, menus and other details are changing regularly. Calling restaurants directly and checking their social media are the best ways to get the most updated information. You might also be asked to make a reservation, so calling in advance is the way to go.

Carryout and Delivery Remain Available

If you’d rather take carryout or get delivery, those options largely remain available. Many restaurants continue to offer curbside pickup too. Call ahead to make sure or place your order.

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Bring a Face Covering

Although not required in many places, St. Joseph County health officials continue to encourage people to wear face coverings where social distancing can’t be maintained. It’s best to have one on in these public spaces, except for when you’re seated.

Servers in PPE

Back on Track Indiana outlines this clearly – servers and kitchen staff are required to wear face coverings. It’ll look different, but it’s for everyone’s health and safety.

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Plan for Less Available Seating

As we mentioned above, restaurants are operating at 50 percent capacity and keeping six feet between tables. Bar seating is unavailable. This will change as the stages progress.