New normal: Dining out in the age of COVID-19

Written by:
May 28, 2020
Mohssen Assanimoghaddam // picture alliance via Getty Images

Dining out in the age of COVID-19

From masks and gloves to plastic partitions and sanitized menus, dining out looks remarkably different in the age of COVID-19 than it did just a few months ago.

Around the world, restaurants—many of which transitioned to take-out only or closed entirely during shutdowns—have begun the process of reopening their doors. Nearly all dining establishments are doing so with the aid of new precautions ranging from modified table layouts to temperature checks of patrons at the entrance. In the forthcoming gallery, we look at restaurants spanning the globe and what this "new normal" looks like for diners and business owners alike.

Keep reading to see images from around the world curated by Stacker depicting how dining out is changing in the wake of COVID-19.

Roman restrictions on espresso to go

Gloves and masks are a part of the new uniform at restaurants around the world. In Rome, a bartender hands a customer espresso to go early in reopening efforts.

Sanitizing a sidewalk cafe in Berlin

Thorough and frequent cleanings are part of essential guidelines. An empty table is made ready in a newly reopened restaurant at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski next to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Making plans in Mykonos

At restaurants around the world, owners and staff pull together to adjust to new rules and regulations for phased-in rollouts. In Mykonos, Greece, employees at the restaurant I Frati make final preparations before reopening for the start of the delayed tourist season on May 24.

Gourmet baskets to go in Paris

Patience and pivoting are key in the new normal. In Paris, customers on April 29 wait to be served by French Chef Amandine Chaignot as she transformed her restaurant Pouliche into a mini-market to sell gourmet baskets made with products from local producers.

The public slowly returns in Prague

Slow starts and careful consideration to meet changing regional requirements are a part of the picture. At a cafe in Prague, patrons on May 25 share a quiet meal as restaurants begin to reopen.

Santized and stickered in Texas

New protocols are established to manage changed routines and assure safe dining. An employee on May 22 puts a "sanitized" sticker on a patio table indicating the time of the cleaning at a restaurant in Houston.

Sanitary greetings in Japan

In the new normal, what might have seen unusual six months ago is welcomed as a sensible precaution. At a restaurant in Yokohama, a server offers hand sanitizer to customers as they enter a restaurant for lunch.

Evaluation upon entrance in Italy

In some cities, additional precautions are taken with a temperature check. At the entrance to the historic Gambrinus Bar in Naples, a waiter takes a temperature reading before seating patrons.

Changing tables in Thailand

Restaurant layouts and tabletops have modified to offer safe distancing. At a hotpot restaurant in Bangkok, plastic partitions have been added to promote personal safety.

Pandas prevent crowding in Thailand

At this restaurant in Thailand, stuffed toy panda placeholders keep patrons safely distanced.

Espresso openings in Italy

The addition of temporary plexiglass barriers is a common site. In Campania, Italy, coffee is safely served through a plastic barrier.

Traditional takeaway in Paris

Contactless ordering becomes mainstream, as observed on May 23 at Bouillon Pigalle, a well-known restaurant in Paris during the coronavirus lockdown.

Countless contactless options in New York

"Contactless delivery" is a new selling point. A woman wearing a protective mask is seen on May 22 between two restaurant signs in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chic bubble-dining in Paris

Design innovations come to life to meet the new normal. At the H.A.N.D restaurant in Paris, a couple has lunch on May 27 with personal plexiglass protection designed by Christophe Gernigon as France eases lockdown measures.

Waiting for to-go in Singapore

Tape and other ground markings identify six-foot intervals and establish a safe waiting stance. In Singapore, patrons wear face masks and observe social distancing on May 2 as they queue outside a restaurant.

Lift-and-sip in New Orleans

Restaurant-goers learn to adjust to eating and drinking while masked. At Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans, a woman takes a sip from her glass during dinner on May 22.

Corona burgers in Vietnam

Creativity in the kitchen abounds. At Pizza Home restaurant in Hanoi, owner Hoang Tung poses with a coronavirus-themed burger on March 26.

Here-yes, there-no, in Germany

Signage guides the way through new regulations. At Deidesheim Farm in Rhineland, tables are clearly marked.

Dining with friends in Australia

Clever additions can be eye-catching. A restaurant in Sydney uses cardboard cutouts to maintain social distancing guidelines on May 14.

Dining details in New Zealand

Amano Restaurant In Auckland provides an online contact-tracing register for guests on its reopening day May 17.

Quick sipping allowed in Belgium

Dining with masks is a common sight. The MITO restaurant in Brussels prepares to reopen with customers respecting health and distance rules.

Greenhouse concerns in Amsterdam

 In Amsterdam, patrons dine canal side by candlelight in “quarantine greenhouses” to maintain social distancing as protection against the coronavirus.

Memorial Day through the looking glass in Maryland

Take-away burgers and breakfast are served up from behind plexiglass in Ocean City, Maryland, over Memorial Day weekend set the stage for the summer ahead.

Sanitized selections in New Orleans

Menus are evolving in form and function in restaurants around the world to adapt to new safety measures. In New Orleans, a waiter sanitizes a dinner menu before presenting to guests.

Beware of the bears in New York

Unexpected adaptations show a soft side. At Nello Restaurant in New York City's Upper East Side reservations are held by masked, red bears on May 20.

Sanitized hand-offs in Japan

Restaurants survive the pandemic by changing operations. In Yokohama, a restaurant pivots to offer curbside pickup.

Stretching for safety in the UK

A man tries to keep his distance while showing his phone to the staff as he pays and picks up food from a restaurant take-out booth in Leicester, England.

Social spacing in Spain

Educating customers to changes in routine and regulations is part of the new normal. In Norena, Spain, a restaurant and bar displays a sign clearly indicating a no-go zone.

Contactless check, please, in Madrid

Digital payment becomes commonplace. In Madrid, customers at a cafe in Plaza Mayor participate in contactless service by paying the bill with their phone.

Pool noodles for patrons in Berlin

A sense of humor eases the strange. Patrons at Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in Berlin enjoy outdoor seating with foam noodle hats to assist with social distancing, as seen on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Compliant cookies in Germany

The newly reopened Cafe Prag in Schwerin, Germany, serves up COVID cookies on May 9.

Remembering the good times in Spain

Reminders of pre-coronavirus world remain a presence. In the Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian, a woman sits and reflects as the country loosens a national lockdown.

Messages marinara in Italy

Meals bring people together. Salvatore Rapuano shares his message of hope on a Neapolitan Pizza in Campania, Italy.

All will be well as Spain reopens

A look toward a brighter future keeps everyone going. In Spain, restaurant staff adapts to the new normal in Phase 2 of the reopening after the coronavirus lockdown.

Cheers from Italy!

A 'quarantini' toast to making it through together. In Turin, Italy, a bartender in Piazza Vittorio Venito hands drinks to guests during reopening.

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