MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Restaurants are opening back up and there have been some questions about contracting COVID-19 from the food at restaurants if an employee has the virus. A local doctor with Infirmary Health who is also a restaurant owner says it is highly unlikely.
Off the Hook Marina and Grill in Chickasaw never closed due to the coronavirus, but owner Dr. Thomasina Sharpe says even before the stay at home order was issued for Alabama, when COVID numbers started going up in the state, she decided to transition solely to takeout orders.
“We follow all the guidelines being that I’m a physician. We went in there, we made sure it was all clean, we counseled everyone, we do temps twice a day. We follow protocol from the health department plus,” said Dr. Sharpe.
She says her restaurant will continue only taking takeout orders for at least another week or so.
“I think at that point we should have a pretty good idea what the COVID numbers are doing in our north Mobile County area because our numbers have really just started spiking,” said Dr. Sharpe.
She told Cherish Lombard that there’s really no way of knowing that every restaurant is doing everything possible to stop the spread of COVID.
“You don’t. Like anybody that has health department rules. I mean rules are broken all the time,” said Dr. Sharpe.
But there are some things you can watch for.
Dr. Sharpe said, “Watching what are their health ratings, looking at what they do not just what they say. I mean, if you drive up to a drive-thru or you drive up to a curbside and your server doesn’t have on gloves, isn’t changing their gloves after they touch your debit card, who aren’t wearing a mask, who are just kind of hanging out smoking with a bunch of other people… That would give you a good heads-up that maybe they’re not doing the right thing in the kitchen either.”
It’s a good idea to take these steps when you get takeout to help protect yourself from COVID. After you get your to-go bag, sanitize your hands. Then when you get home, take the containers out of the bag and put your food on a plate. Throw the to-go containers away, then wash your hands with soap and water before you eat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health, there are no “rules” in place for restaurants and bars in the state regarding COVID– just “recommendations,” and things owners and managers “may consider.” You can see what they are online:
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