We Can’t Go Back

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It seems to me people are being unbelievably optimistic (to the point of naivete) about what things are going to be like as they “re-open.” It isn’t going to be like it was before. Not even close.

As an example from just one sector, just take a look at these highlights from the restrictions related to eating establishments:

  • Restaurants must “provide disposable menus to guests and make menus available digitally so that customers can view on a personal electronic device, if possible. If disposable menus cannot be provided, properly disinfect menus before and after customer use.”
  • Restaurants must also “discontinue pre-setting tables with napkins, cutlery, glassware, food ware, etc. These should be supplied individually to customers as needed. Do not leave card stands, flyers, napkin holders, or other items on tables.”
  • Same goes for condiments: “Suspend use of shared food items such as condiment bottles, salt and pepper shakers, etc. and provide these foods in single serve containers, if possible. Where this is not possible, shared items such as condiment bottles, shakers, etc., should be supplied as needed to customers and disinfected after each use.
  • Takeout containers must be filled by customers and available only upon request.”
  • And tablecloths might become a thing of the past: “Dirty linens used at dining tables such as tablecloths and napkins should be removed after each customer use and transported from dining areas in sealed bags. Employees should wear gloves when handling dirty linens.”
  • Restaurants must also “discontinue tableside food preparation and presentation such as food item selection carts and conveyor belts, guacamole preparation, etc.”
  • And forget grabbing a mint on your way out: “Do not leave out after-meal mints, candies, snacks, or toothpicks for customers. Offer them with the check or provide only on request.”
  • Brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, and wineries must remain closed if they don’t offer sit-down dining, but they can reopen if they “contract with another vendor to…serve dine-in meals.”

And I’m not even mentioning how people will be required to wait in their car until their table is ready, or that everyone will have to wear masks except while eating, and that there will be Plexiglas dividers all over the place. Doesn’t that sound like a terrific night on the town?

I mean, good lord, imagine when that delicious basket of fries is set in front of you. If you’re anything like me, you want to grab that big ol’ bottle of ketchup and lay down a couple of gallons of the stuff down, ready to rock. But, nope. You’ll be handed those teeny little single serving packets, and you’ll need to tear them open, one by one. It sounds miserable.

And “sin city” Las Vegas is going to be a hell of a lot more dull, too. Setting aside that all the big buffets and shows will be closed, on the casino floor:

  • Casino capacity would be cut in half
  • Gamblers would keep their distance at slot and table games
  • All dice and gaming surfaces would be cleaned between each use
  • Halved occupancy limits assigned to each gaming area of the property would be determined by local building and fire codes. Table game limits would include three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table.

Thus, this iconic scene from Rain Man is clearly ancient history with the new world order.

The quantity of known diseases that can affect humans is as high as 30,000, yet this one specific disease is suddenly king of the hill. All the fun stuff you’ve enjoyed in the past – – – shows, casinos, eating out with friends – – isn’t going to be back for a long, long time. Meanwhile, get used to opening up those tiny ketchup packets and trying to place your order through a mask.