JIM FURLONG | At the Restaurant

*Column originally appeared in our April 17-23, 2022 issue

The subject is COVID. There had been a promise to myself to not write about it anymore because people had heard enough from me on most aspects of it. A visit to a local restaurant showed me “everything ain’t been said.”

I cannot tell you about government policy. I can only tell you about me and my personal experiences. Last Tuesday I was in a downtown eatery with a friend of mine. It is the first time I have dined out in two years. I am careful in things like that because I am 75.  If you get a flu when you are that old, it can be fatal. COVID absolutely is not the place to be. 

Easing of restrictions

I do not need to name the restaurant because what they did was not illegal. They were just trying to get by. Now I had forgotten my KN95 mask so as soon as I entered, I asked the greeter if they had a spare mask.

The nice woman said I did not need one. She was rejoicing in the easing of restrictions. She did not know I was looking for a mask because I wanted one not because of the law.  I was escorted to my table and sat with a maskless  friend.

We were distanced from the only two other occupied tables. The lady who escorted us to our table was maskless. The waitress who took and delivered our order was also maskless. I said nothing. 

An early life lesson I learned from working as a waiter in the diner on the Newfie Bullet is that it isn’t prudent to start arguments with those that handle your food. Important information. 

Maskless patrons

Now a quick look at the bar apart from the restaurant that day showed to be five or six people sitting there for a drink or trying their luck at the VLTs. They were all maskless. As a matter of fact, in this restaurant/bar there were NO masks.  

Now I did not come into town on a load of turnips. I understand that in the decision to reopen everything under the sun there is politics involved plus an economic imperative that is quite compelling. 

Everybody cannot just stay home out of it. Money must exchange hands. People must work. So it is that doors swing wide, and toes start tapping again in the restaurant and bar business. Do not mistake that for the COVID crisis being over with. It is not. We are just forced to pretend it is. The number of deaths is up. The number of hospitalizations is up.  

What do I do? There is only one course of action for a seventy-five-year-old. That is prudence. Wear your mask and do not go to maskless places. It is my plan. Good luck with yours. 

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]

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