Disabled Dining Out During a Pandemic
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Have you left the safety and comfort of your home...and ventured out yet? During this time of unprecedented staying home, states are starting to re-open and that means restaurants and going out to eat again! Yes, being disabled meant I didn't go out to eat a whole lot because I had to worry about having my wheelchair or having a place to sit if it was busy, and what if I had to use the restroom and there was a line? So many logistical considerations for people with mobility disabilities.
Staying home is kinda the norm for me. So the stay at home orders and everything have been just my life as usual. But I have not gone out to eat a few times, and I have to tell you it is different. This is my experience dining out while disabled during a pandemic.
The first thing is, no seats in the restaurant for waiting. So if you have a mobility problem and normally sit down in the front until you are seated you need to plan for this situation. Luckily with our visit to Red Lobster, they were pretty quick getting us seated and I didn't have any problems. If it would have been an issue they did still have the benches out from, I had my wheelchair and I could have gone back to the car in the worst-case scenario.
This is something you need to make sure you have a plan for. Just in case.
The next thing I noticed was the social distancing meant certain types of tables were a no go. They only had every other table open. That meant that one of the table types we liked to get was closed because of how the restaurant was situated.
We like the half booths, half chairs combo's but in this restaurant, those were only on ends and they were closed. So they may not be able to accommodate certain table types or configurations. Another issue I have heard a lot about is large parties. Most restaurants are unable to accommodate large parties now.
I have found that most have paper menus and that can mean only running partial or limited menu items. This was happening at Red Lobster. They had only very limited offerings. But that didn't mean they didn't have new items! We had not been to Red Lobster in a while and they now had Shrimp Rangoon and Potstickers! Which we had to get and boy were they yummy. The Shrimp Rangoon pic is the one at the beginning.
It is making me hungry just thinking about it!
The Shrimp Rangoon was not your typical Rangoon. It had a crispy strip breading and was deep-fried. The shrimp were butterfly and then topped with cream cheese filling and it was amazing. It was topped with this spicy chili sauce and normally I can't eat spicy stuff but it was so good!! It was $10.99 for 6.
The Potstickers were crisp and moist and were topped with this sweet and spicy sauce that David decided to dip his Cheddar Bay Biscuits in. He was in love with the sauce! It was $5.99 for 3.
We also all got entree's but we were stuffed! We normally don't get apps and entrees because it is so much food but these sounded so good and we had to try them.
All the servers wore masks. Which in Arizona varies by city. Our governor has decided it is up to each mayor how each city will require or not require masks. Although Red Lobster had a sign up that they are requiring masks. I did see people enter without masks on and they were still sat so I don't know if the requirement is enforced here.
Please know wherever you are what the city, state and if it is a different country, what the requirements are for mask-wearing.