The sun is finally out and when that happens Sweden morphs into a different country. Suddenly the streets, parks and gardens are filled with people whose existence one did not even realise during the dark winter months. Smiles, laughter and babble become welcome accompaniments to daily life.
Although there is no confinement here, most citizens are respecting social distancing. Restaurants are open but are having a tough time with many of them going under due to lack of customers.
With the arrival of the warm weather, however, restaurant terraces are enticing trade. I myself have been adhering to working from home and restricting my movements to shopping for essentials and walks in nature. One sunny day, when a friend recently suggested coffee, it was with some unease that I agreed to meet on a terrace.
With Corona on my mind, I sat at a distance from my friend. We ordered some coffee and water but were rather taken aback when the waitress pinched the lip of the water glasses with her index and thumb and put them down on the table. She then clasped the coffee cups with her hands, all her fingers curved around the drinking edge of the cup. My friend and I were slightly horrified and worried.
There are elementary rules of hygiene that need to be followed when serving food and drinks. These apply to the professional environment but also to the private home. One such rule is to avoid handling the area of a cup or of an implement such as a knife or fork, that will come into contact with lips and mouth.
Anyone working in the restaurant business should adhere to these basic practices. Any member of staff not aware of such practices should undergo proper training.
If this is important for the general health of the population during normal times, it is even more important during a pandemic. Customers will not return to a restaurant or bar if they fear that they risk catching a virus or a bacteria. Restaurants would do well to ensure that their staff has received appropriate training. By taking such measures they ensure that their customers remain healthy, content, and that they will come back and keep them in business.
With Corona on the rampage, most of us have a heightened awareness of potential sources of contamination. Bad practices in restaurants will not go unnoticed. This has to be one positive element amidst the wreckage of the pandemic: the reinstatement of good rules of hygiene. No one forgets washing hands anymore. If one could add to that other basic rules such as restaurant staff refraining from wearing strong scents during service, the dining world would be a better place…