Count on Me NC

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NC restaurants have opened up and many of us are ready to enjoy a meal away from home. Although we won’t have to prepare the food, we do need to prepare ourselves for a safe dining experience for our family and others in the dining area. Food Safety specialists from North Carolina Cooperative Extension in partnership with the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association Foundation, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and Visit North Carolina have designed Count On Me NC to help.

Look for the Count On Me NC certificate on display at your favorite eating establishments. This shows a location has participated in free, online training in cleaning and sanitizing public spaces to protect their health, the health of other patrons, and their employees.

According to Ben Chapman, Food Safety Specialist with North Carolina State University, restaurants should not look like they did prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. Tables need to be spaced farther apart and employees should be wearing face coverings. It is okay to ask questions such as how they are cleaning and sanitizing. Consider dining outside if that is an option. Think about common use items such as menus. If you know what you want to eat, don’t use a menu. If you do, sanitize or wash your hands, especially if eating finger foods like French fries or a sandwich.

Eating with a face covering presents some challenges. Wear the covering inside the establishment and leave it on until your food arrives. Remove the covering to eat or drink, but it is recommended to put it back on before talking. Now isn’t the time to sit and socialize inside a restaurant. For safety reasons, it is better to eat and move to an outside area for conversation.

Count On Me NC has developed a Guest Pledge which includes:

  • Wear a cloth face covering like a mask or scarf.
  • Wait your turn by maintaining six feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
  • Use contactless delivery or takeout options if you have been recently exposed to, or have symptoms of, COVID-19.
  • Be patient and kind to staff and other guests as we all try to adjust to a new normal.

Accept the challenge and take the Count On Me NC pledge to show you are willing to do your part to help prevent the spread.

Read more on the Food Safety website.