Coronavirus has been actively spreading throughout the United States. As of April 1st, 2020, there have been over 180,000 infections and over 4,000 deaths in the United States. While some city/state governments have required workers to work from home, people in other regions still need to go to the office to work. For those who are working in the office, eating at work becomes an extraordinarily dangerous act. When people eat, they lack protection from the coronavirus. Now, how can office workers fight against coronavirus when eat in the office? The following guidelines provide you some ways out.
Be Aware of Sources of Infection
If you need to go to the office, you should be aware of what the sources of infection are. Your colleagues could carry the virus unknowingly, and it's okay if you converse with them with masks on, but it's nearly impossible to eat in the dining hall without removing your mask.
Therefore, you need to social distance from everyone when you eat and pay close attention to other people eating in the dining hall. Be cognizant of the cooks in the kitchen, as the food you eat has been through their hands. However, be sure to thank the cleaning staff members you see, but keep your distance as they clean everywhere in the office and are at high risk of coming into contact with the virus (albeit while cleaning).
Prepare Meals as much as Possible
Apart from eating food from your company's kitchen, you have other options. If possible, the best option is to cook meals at home and bring them to your office for lunch. If you bring your food to the office and need to heat it with the microwave or need to use the company kitchen, make sure any equipment is cleaned frequently. After eating, you need to wash your food container with soap and water as soon as possible to eliminate any bacteria that may have gotten on it.
On the other hand, if you don't have time to prepare food yourself, you can bring your own set of tableware to your office to make sure everything you touch directly is clean. If you don't do so, you could also clean the public tableware before use.
Be Extra Conscious of Food Delivery
For those workers who choose to order food delivery for lunch, you must pay attention to the safety of the delivery method. Before you order the meal, pre-check the qualification of the food company. To ensure your own safety, it's the best to choose those companies with a widely accepted certificate that prove the food sources are safe, and the environment of the kitchen and food packaging process are clean.
When you get the food, you need to wear your mask, and make sure the delivery staff wears his/her mask before you get close. Avoiding direct contact protects both you and the delivery person. You should also wash your hands before you start eating—in case there is any bacteria on the surface of the food packaging.
After you finish dining, discard of your garbage carefully. You are equally responsible for the well-being of your colleagues, and you can expect them to be as responsible as you.
Tips on Dining in Workers' Dining Hall
Some companies have begun to arrange staggered meals—arranging for some employees to have meals half an hour earlier than others. Also, workers need to avoid any crowds in the dining hall. When lining up in the kitchen, follow normal social distancing protocol, keeping a meter between the person in front and behind you.
After getting your meal, you can choose to eat at your own desk rather than having lunch in the dining hall. If you have to dine in the same hall as others, try to sit at separate tables and never face to face.
If your company doesn't offer enough tables for independent dining, ask the company to set a barricade in the middle of each table. Some companies that have already done so utilized barricades as high as 50 centimeters in order to prevent contact between staff.
Go home for Lunch
Many employees eat in the office building during lunch in order to get back to work right after. However, if you don't feel safe having lunch in any way listed above, it's your personal right to ask your employer for if you can head home for lunch. If possible, avoid taking public transportations that forces you to come into contact with others. The safest way is to drive home yourself.
If you are a worker who is or is about to go to the office to work during the pandemic, remember the suggestions above and pay attention to your self-protection when you have lunch in the office.
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