In the latest effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the so-called "new normal" period, the Indonesian government is now urging workers, who often dine out during lunchtime, not to speak while in restaurants.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Indonesia's COVID-19 spokesman Achmad Yurianto said that restaurants are among the public spaces with potentially high risk of coronavirus transmission.
"So try not to have any conversation while we're eating with other people at eating places," Achmad said.
He added that the majority of people who work leave their workplaces during lunchtime, and most would often forget that health protocols should be more strictly observed when they're dining in at restaurants.
"At the restaurant, we sometimes don't know the people we're with, which office they come from, so it's better not to speak while eating, finish up your meal, and leave that place immediately."
According to Achmad, not talking to other people while dining out can decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission. As people take off their masks before eating, everyone is advised to keep a physical distance with others and for the restaurant management to ensure that their place has decent air circulation.
Additionally, Achmad told Indonesians to bring their own eating utensils should they need to dine out.
"This is something new, because we are usually able to meet people, have long talks because we're friendly with them, but this should change. This is the adaptation of new habits," Achmad said.
In Jakarta, restaurants have commenced their usual operation since June 8 at half capacity and with several limitations, such as limiting the number of patrons and implementing health protocols. Though we can't help but think, isn't the situation still worrying enough for dining out to be back on the table?