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Old 04-10-2020, 12:28 AM
russian heel is offline
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Suggested temporary restaurant guidelines when it’s time to “open” again.


Let’s say America starts allowing restaurants to reopen mid-May to June providing the cases start declining to a suitable level. Probably one of the top things Americans miss is getting out of the house and eating out. Would this temporary plan work?

1. No bars

2. Reservations only

3. All staff must wear masks (realizing kitchen and wait staff can’t enact social distancing guidelines)

4. All staff and customers must be symptom free

5. Parties limited to 4 or Less and they must be the same nuclear family; parties must be separated by 10’. Parties greater than 4, 16 feet. No parties greater than 8 people. Sorry, no elderly Mother’s Day dinners just yet unless you can provide proof she lives with the family.

6. Restaurant visits limited to 2 hours.

7. Restaurants subject to weekly inspections during open hours to ensure compliance by special inspectors hired by the government. Inspectors reserve the right to close the restaurant with no notice.

8. Take out customers must use a separate entrance or pick up in the parking lot; and kept at least 10’ from diners.

9. To keep the lights on restaurants may offer “Valentines Day” style limited menus and not be subject to price gouging laws as long as the entrees offered are not more than double the price of what they would normally be on their menu. No price gouging on alcohol.

10. Automatic 20% tips. Anything above that is discretionary.

11. No live entertainment.

12. All tables and chairs must be disinfected by approved chemicals immediately after use.


What do you think especially if you are in the restaurant industry? What else could we add? Anything too unreasonable/not doable? I get it’s unfair to smaller restaurants but I can’t solve that problem. I also admit I have not figured out the bathroom issue yet.

My thinking is bored people will be so desperate for dining that they will put up with these temporary restrictions or pricing for a while anyway.


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Old 04-10-2020, 12:35 AM
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We'll follow the state and local health directors' guidelines, thanks. When they say it's safe, we'll go out for grub.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:26 AM
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Sounds good, but the nuclear family part sounds unnecessary. I don't see anything wrong with a couple of roommates or friends wanting to eat dinner at the same table, in this scenario.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:47 AM
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Having personal experience with patronizing restaurants during this pandemic, here is what I have witnessed in Beijing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
1. No bars

I have not noticed any nightclubs/bars open, but I do not go to those so I have no real idea. As bar/nightclub customers here are notorious for not following the "no smoking" law, and the venue owners are notorious for not enforcing those laws, I cannot see how anyone would expect a bar or nightclub to adhere to the new rules anyway.

Way over in Seoul, South Korea, the mayor ordered all bars, nightclubs, and "room salons" shut down because they simply would not enforce attendance limits.

Quote:
2. Reservations only

With the requirement here to pass a temperature check before entering any place, to include restaurants, there is no way this will work. The customer would be out of a table (actually, the customer would be out more than that, but that's not pertinent to this discussion), and the restaurant would have an empty table that would not generate income.

Quote:
3. All staff must wear masks (realizing kitchen and wait staff can’t enact social distancing guidelines)

This is exactly what I've seen. The restaurant staff here must wear masks, hair covers, food handler gloves, and record their own temperatures at set times throughout the day and when certain events occur.

Quote:
4. All staff and customers must be symptom free

That is the idea behind the practises outlined above.

Quote:
5. Parties limited to 4 or Less and they must be the same nuclear family; parties must be separated by 10’. Parties greater than 4, 16 feet. No parties greater than 8 people. Sorry, no elderly Mother’s Day dinners just yet unless you can provide proof she lives with the family.

There is no way to prove any of that. Even here in China, which still uses a family register system, that is not workable.

Quote:
6. Restaurant visits limited to 2 hours.

It's not exactly a limit, but I have seen a number of signs politely asking the customers to depart so another group may enjoy a sit-down meal there.

Quote:
7. Restaurants subject to weekly inspections during open hours to ensure compliance by special inspectors hired by the government. Inspectors reserve the right to close the restaurant with no notice.

The inspections here are happening a lot more often than once a week. And they close down a place lickety-split if need be.

Quote:
8. Take out customers must use a separate entrance or pick up in the parking lot; and kept at least 10’ from diners.

A few places have removed some of their tables and chairs to provide the appropriate social distancing; other places have taped off the tables and chairs not to be used. As a number of restaurants are in shopping malls, it is unworkable to have more than one entrance in use. Anyway, the rule is to have one entrance so there will be one staff member to check temperature and your health status code on your cellphone. Those ordering takeout pick their food up at the door from said staff member, but must wait nearby with the appropriate social distancing in effect until called to get their food.

Quote:
9. To keep the lights on restaurants may offer “Valentines Day” style limited menus and not be subject to price gouging laws as long as the entrees offered are not more than double the price of what they would normally be on their menu. No price gouging on alcohol.

Price gouging is definitely being scrutinized here. China just had a traditional holiday last weekend, and everyone was warned by the various levels of government about price gouging.

Almost every place I've seen has already limited their menus due to lower staff number and, of course, lower customer numbers.

Quote:
10. Automatic 20% tips. Anything above that is discretionary.

Tipping is not a tradition here. And I honestly wish it weren't in the US--the employers need to pay their staff a realistic wage and not push that onto the cusotmers so the employers can slide out of other obligatios to their employees (said customers somtimes sticking it to the wait staff).

Quote:
11. No live entertainment.

As far as I know, all live entertainment venues have been closed until further notice.

Quote:
12. All tables and chairs must be disinfected by approved chemicals immediately after use.

This is occurring here.

Quote:
I also admit I have not figured out the bathroom issue yet.


I haven't noticed how that's being handled. I'll be going with two friends tomorrow to a restaurant in a shopping mall and I'll check on that and will report here when I return home.

That's all I can think of.

Last edited by Monty; 04-10-2020 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:20 PM
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Good stuff from Beijing. The reason I would enforce reservations is to prevent dangerous lines forming outside. If a reservation gets cancelled, that sucks but maybe a stand-by reservation system can be set up.

I know the nuclear family thing is hard to prove but I’d prefer to discourage going out with friends because that could possibly spread the disease.


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Old 04-10-2020, 06:21 PM
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I guess you're not seeing something. There are no restaurants here now with a huge waiting line. If you're going to enforce reservvations policies at the same time as all the other stuff, you're going to go bankrupt tonight. Remember the restaurant now has less than half of its previous seating capacity. What are you going to do when someone misses their reservation or, sadly, you cannot seat them because their temperature is higher than the cutoff temperature? Oh, and if you think you're going to seat more people than now permitted by the Beijing government, you will discover how wrong your thinking was while you're in a cell for "administrative detention" at the local cop shop.

The social distancing rules are enforced. Also, those of us going "out and about" are those who have already been in quarantine for the mandatory time. My downstairs neighbor, for example, returned to Beijing on 31 March 2020 from somewhere else in China (definitely not Wuhan or anywhere else in Hubei) and are locked down through 13 April 2020. The neighborhood committee has a sign on their door explaining that, and the committee has placed an alarm on the outside of the door so the nieghbors cannot leave. Their food is delivered by the committe who deactivate the alarm so the neighbors can grab their stuff, then the committe reactivates the alarm.

Monitoring has become the national sport. You cannot go into any place, be it your home community, a convenience store, the post office, any other government office, a bank, a shopping mall, or any restaurant without getting your temperature checked and you must be wearing a face mask. When I went to fetch a pizza a couple of nights ago, I didn't even enter the restaurant, but still had to have my temperature checked. Heck, I carry a digital thermometer with me everywhere I go--I check my own temperature before leaving the apartment and I check it again before submitting to a scan at my destination.

And nobody's going to carry around their family register, their birth and marriage certificates, or adoption papers to prove they're a "nuclear family". And what's with insisting on a nuclear famiy in 2020?
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty View Post
I guess you're not seeing something. There are no restaurants here now with a huge waiting line.
Whoa easy there hard charger, I haven't been to China since 2005, so no I'm not seeing anything!

Maybe I'm not familiar with what Beijing has experienced in the past 3 months, but I would imagine a populous caged up like rats would be storming restaurants when they opened, but if a megapolis like Beijing was on a Wuhan-style lockdown and that's not the case, OK I'll buy it and that would mean in America a reservation system might not be required.

I can tell you this however, where I am from, there are certain local establishments that before the outbreak took no reservations, and there were long wait times for a table, mostly on weekends; with less seating, the only thing that will prevent this without a reservation system is people just not willing to go out in public right away.


Quote:
The neighborhood committee has a sign on their door explaining that, and the committee has placed an alarm on the outside of the door so the nieghbors cannot leave. Their food is delivered by the committe who deactivate the alarm so the neighbors can grab their stuff, then the committe reactivates the alarm.
That's a great way to enforce a quarantine, but painting the big red X on the front door would never fly in the United States, and besides, my home has 5 exits.

Quote:
Monitoring has become the national sport. You cannot go into any place, be it your home community, a convenience store, the post office, any other government office, a bank, a shopping mall, or any restaurant without getting your temperature checked and you must be wearing a face mask. When I went to fetch a pizza a couple of nights ago, I didn't even enter the restaurant, but still had to have my temperature checked. Heck, I carry a digital thermometer with me everywhere I go--I check my own temperature before leaving the apartment and I check it again before submitting to a scan at my destination.
The face mask issue is not as much a problem here as it was 2 weeks ago; the last I checked thermometers are far and few between here. One question: obviously you have to take off your face mask to eat; when dining out, when are you required to keep it on?

Quote:
And nobody's going to carry around their family register, their birth and marriage certificates, or adoption papers to prove they're a "nuclear family". And what's with insisting on a nuclear famiy in 2020?
Yeah I guess that's dead in the water. Still, I think members of different families eating out together this soon is not a great idea.

Again, thanks for the feedback. Any info we can get on how China is handling the situation helps everyone else!

PS: Any restaurant bathroom reports?

Last edited by russian heel; 04-11-2020 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Forgot to ask a question
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:30 AM
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That doesn't sound like an enjoyable experience. That's why I eat at restaurants. To enjoy it! Food is just a part of it and really mostly for the convenience of not having to cook. I'll continue eating at home and doing takeout until the experience is mostly normal. Half seating is about as out of the ordinary that I would want to deal with.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
Maybe I'm not familiar with what Beijing has experienced in the past 3 months, but I would imagine a populous caged up like rats would be storming restaurants when they opened, but if a megapolis like Beijing was on a Wuhan-style lockdown and that's not the case, OK I'll buy it and that would mean in America a reservation system might not be required.

I can tell you this however, where I am from, there are certain local establishments that before the outbreak took no reservations, and there were long wait times for a table, mostly on weekends; with less seating, the only thing that will prevent this without a reservation system is people just not willing to go out in public right away.

You remember the hot pot restaurants in China from back in 2005? They were still super popular here before the pandemic started. Now I've seen just a few people sitting at a table with the tables next to them in each direction marked "out of service". And there are no lines now. Before the pandemic, the lines to get into those places were insane sometimes.

Quote:
That's a great way to enforce a quarantine, but painting the big red X on the front door would never fly in the United States, and besides, my home has 5 exits.

Do a quick search for: Wuhan door weld. You'll be surprised at what you see. But the way it's done with my neighbor isn't so bad (except their kid keeps screaming to go play with her friends outside). Plus they'll be allowed to leave their apartment come Tuesday.

The community just south of mine is a bunch of one story houses, each with a few entrances/exits, with more than one family residing in each house. First thing the city did in that community due to the pandemic was require a wall be built around the community so that the neighborhood could have one and only one entrance to it. They don't have security guards so the district's auxiliary police are handling it. If someone in that neighborhood had to be quarantined like my downstairs neighbor and their home were like yours, I have no doubt that it would not be an issue to put five alarms on the outsides of the doors. Also,technically it's not a "red X", but just a notice, not unlike this one from Maine or this one from Pennsylvania. (I wonder if the laws requiring such postings are still in effect.)

Quote:
The face mask issue is not as much a problem here as it was 2 weeks ago; the last I checked thermometers are far and few between here. One question: obviously you have to take off your face mask to eat; when dining out, when are you required to keep it on?

There's a nice notice at the entrance and the same notice on the table requesting you to replace your mask when you are not actually eating the food (waiting for your order, etc.). Of course you have to remove the mask to eat.

Quote:
Yeah I guess that's dead in the water. Still, I think members of different families eating out together this soon is not a great idea.

As long as everyone's past the quarantine (which people "out and about" in Beijing are), follows the social distancing rules, and does not exceed the maximum permitted group size, it should not be a problem.

Quote:
Again, thanks for the feedback. Any info we can get on how China is handling the situation helps everyone else!

Sure! A friend just asked me yesteray or the day before if I thought the rules here helped the situation. My response was that I think they absolutely have.

Quote:
PS: Any restaurant bathroom reports?

I forgot to check while I was at the mall, but we did hit up a park not far away and I went to check the men's room there. Yep, it still looked like the typical nasty disgusting crime scene that Chinese public loos usually look like. There was no attendant at the loo. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing an attendant at the restroom entrance in the malls either. I guess for both venues, they figure that if you're inside the park or mall, you already passed the screening so you're good to go, so to speak.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:44 AM
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I left this part off by accident.

Actually, I think we need an update of this Chicago influenza warning notice from 1918. I especially like this line near the bottom:

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This Theatre has agreed to co-operate with the Department of Health in disseminating the truth about influenza, and thus serve a great educational purpose.
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
That doesn't sound like an enjoyable experience. That's why I eat at restaurants. To enjoy it! Food is just a part of it and really mostly for the convenience of not having to cook. I'll continue eating at home and doing takeout until the experience is mostly normal. Half seating is about as out of the ordinary that I would want to deal with.
Yeah, if it is like going into a hospital operating room, I'll just stay home.

And why a mandatory 20% tip now all of a sudden? Why is that a necessary sanitary regulation that stops the spread of Covid-19?

In this and all other instances, I wish people would stop proposing their own personal policy choices into emergency regulations to deal with the virus.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
Yeah, if it is like going into a hospital operating room, I'll just stay home.

And why a mandatory 20% tip now all of a sudden? Why is that a necessary sanitary regulation that stops the spread of Covid-19?

In this and all other instances, I wish people would stop proposing their own personal policy choices into emergency regulations to deal with the virus.
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:07 PM
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We have friends in South Korea, where they are loosening restrictions and have reopened restaurants and bars. People are not rushing out to these places. Traffic is very light and many places still empty. The populace is still wary of being in large gatherings.

I expect that you will see similar behavior in the US when restrictions are lifted.

I highly doubt you will see lines etc.
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:39 PM
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OMar Little: Where in South Korea are your friends? As mentioned above, just a few days ago, the mayor of Seoul closed all bars in his city.
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:15 PM
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Undoubtedly there will be some people who flock to restaurants once the stay-home orders are rescinded, but it may well be a pretty small flock--primarily those who feel invulnerable. The masks and temperature-checking are not going to reassure potential diners; in fact, quite the opposite: Yikes, if PPE is still necessary, I'll stay home!

Question #1: checking temps only catches those people who are already having symptoms from COVID-19, right? It doesn't determine those who have the virus but are either in the contagious incubation period or remain asymptomatic. So does it do all that much to slow the spread?

Question #2: Is the 20% minimum tip supposed to make up for there being fewer customers and therefore, fewer tips? Why not just increase wages?
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:47 PM
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Maybe the OP's logic on a 20% automatic tip is that it reduces the amount of customer handling of the merchant's copy of charge slips. However, unless restaurants (or their banks) stop insisting on the paying customer signing the merchant's charge slip, customers will be handling them.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Question #2: Is the 20% minimum tip supposed to make up for there being fewer customers and therefore, fewer tips? Why not just increase wages?
How about we leave the minimum/living wage debate for a different day and when deciding the protocol for reopening restaurants, we focus only on things that prevent the spread of disease? Otherwise it never stops.

What if we go down that road and Republicans urge that, say, in order to get people back out to restaurants and so that they are not scared of crime due to so many police being sick, we mandate that any person who is not a convicted felon can carry a handgun for personal protection without the need of a government permit?

It's real tempting to go down this path and we've already started it (red states suspending abortion, blue states closing gun stores) that we should just have those type of debates in the normal course of legislation.

Last edited by UltraVires; 04-13-2020 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:45 PM
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You need glass barriers between patrons.
https://images.wsj.net/im-175388?width=1260&size=1.5
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Old 04-13-2020, 04:00 PM
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This doesn't sound like opening up, it sounds like a different way to stay shut down.

What's the deal with the "nuclear family" thing? You realize that people who aren't married or related often live together? And for that matter, people who are related and/or married occasionally live apart? Why would it be okay for people who live apart to eat together, but people who live together absolutely must not? And anyway, are we going to have waiters checking marriage licenses and birth certificates?

If we're letting people gather in restaurants, we're letting people gather. Once public dining rooms are open, bars, parties, movies and concerts are fair game, in my opinion.
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Old 04-13-2020, 04:12 PM
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If a restaurant can't maximize the number of patrons it's probably not worth it for them to open. Anything else they do is another cost they can barely afford to absorb right now. Masks and gloves are not that expensive, the use of approved disinfectants for all cleaning, that would be about the limit of what the restaurants who can manage to re-open some day in the middle of an economic crisis could absorb.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
PS: Any restaurant bathroom reports?
Restroom at the empty McFoodery (with long drive-thru line) near Sacramento I necessarily visited the other day had obviously been scrubbed-down just before my arrival. I've not inspected facilities at other eateries for some time now. No rush.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
How about we leave the minimum/living wage debate for a different day and when deciding the protocol for reopening restaurants, we focus only on things that prevent the spread of disease? Otherwise it never stops.

What if we go down that road and Republicans urge that, say, in order to get people back out to restaurants and so that they are not scared of crime due to so many police being sick, we mandate that any person who is not a convicted felon can carry a handgun for personal protection without the need of a government permit?

It's real tempting to go down this path and we've already started it (red states suspending abortion, blue states closing gun stores) that we should just have those type of debates in the normal course of legislation.
I wasn't trying to "go down this path." I was trying to get the OP to clarify why this was proposed instead of assuming there was some unrelated social/political agenda behind it. You obviously prefer to jump to conclusions, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should.
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
How about we leave the minimum/living wage debate for a different day and when deciding the protocol for reopening restaurants, we focus only on things that prevent the spread of disease? Otherwise it never stops.

What if we go down that road and Republicans urge that, say, in order to get people back out to restaurants and so that they are not scared of crime due to so many police being sick, we mandate that any person who is not a convicted felon can carry a handgun for personal protection without the need of a government permit?

It's real tempting to go down this path and we've already started it (red states suspending abortion, blue states closing gun stores) that we should just have those type of debates in the normal course of legislation.
Moderator Note

So in order not go down the road to minimum wage debate, you start down the road to the gun control debate? Let's not go down any of those paths, and leave debates to Great Debates.

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Old 04-14-2020, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
Yeah, if it is like going into a hospital operating room, I'll just stay home.

And why a mandatory 20% tip now all of a sudden? Why is that a necessary sanitary regulation that stops the spread of Covid-19?

In this and all other instances, I wish people would stop proposing their own personal policy choices into emergency regulations to deal with the virus.

The 20% tip was just an idea I threw out there. IMO restaurant workers are a front line profession and I’d just want to make sure they are taken care of.


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Old 04-14-2020, 04:56 AM
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When restaurants reopen it is safe to assume that a large chunk of the population will still be is significant financial distress. A fixed/minimum service charge would ensure that customers are making their dining out choices based on the true cost of the meal (i.e., including tip) and not passing their financial hardship on to the servers (“I can’t really afford a decent tip, times are tough.”) . Many restaurants pre-shutdown added minimum tips to checks for larger groups in order to counter the tendency for certain diners to decide, “Gee, 18% of this big check seems like a lot of money, 10% should be plenty.”

It would be wonderful is somehow the recovery is the trigger to eliminate the absurd tip-based compensation system altogether...
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:42 AM
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I know the nuclear family thing is hard to prove but Id prefer to discourage going out with friends because that could possibly spread the disease.


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Are we thinking of different definitions of a nuclear family here? Because in my mind, that's two parents of opposite sex and their children. Married, naturally.

And that's a societal judgement I am not prepared for us to be dragged back to. Families - and home set-ups - come in many shapes and sizes.

I'd argue the better version would be 'people from the same household' as it currently is for exercising with the 'stay at home' order (at least where I am). And where you live is pretty easy to prove if required.

Last edited by SanVito; 04-14-2020 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:47 AM
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OMar Little: Where in South Korea are your friends? As mentioned above, just a few days ago, the mayor of Seoul closed all bars in his city.
They live in Gumi. One of the industrial parts of the Country in the south.
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