The convenience of drive-thru swabbing and inconvenience of dine-in

First of all, thank you to Ms. Lynda Dayrit of the office of Dr. James Dy for assisting our friends who needed to undergo the drive-through swab testing at the Chinese General Hospital.

With the system in place under the supervision of Francis Bas, one only needs to go there aboard his car. Once there, someone will approach your car, make you fill out a form (although this may be done online) to register and then pay.  A health personnel donning a complete PPE will then go to your car and conduct the swab test.  That’s it.

The system is convenient and does away with the fear of mingling with possible COVID carriers since you do not have to leave your car at any point. The results are also made available in a couple of days.

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Only recently, I and two others tried dining out just to get a feel of what it’s like, in the middle of a pandemic.

We chose a restaurant famous for its fall-off-the-bones pork ribs, a favourite of ours.

There, protocols were indeed being observed. A foot bath upon entering. Temperature is checked. One is made to  log or fill out a list of customers complete with contact numbers, address and time of entry.  A bottle of alcohol is also placed at the front desk.

Unless you bring a pen of your own, you will have to use their pen and wondering how many may have used it ahead of  you,  the tendency is to sanitize your hands with alcohol.

Once inside, we sanitized the chairs with alcohol before taking a seat. The waiter handed menus, papers and pens. We were told to write our orders on the paper and hand it over to the waiter.

When we were done, we again sanitized our hands, again because we do not know exactly how many hands have gone over the menu, the pen and the paper.

While waiting for the orders, we sanitized our table. Once the plates and utensils came, we asked for a hot glass of water where we dipped all utensils in the hope that they will be sanitized that way.

We used the insides of the napkins to wipe our plates and our glasses and even the serving spoons and knives which were too big for the glass of hot water.

For some reason, the said restaurant’s comfort room was ‘closed’ and if you want to wash your hands, which is very basic health protocol, the waiter would direct customers to go out and use the public toilet which is being made available to everyone dropping by the food park.

After eating, we were left wondering: what if the prior user or users of the plates, utensils or glasses  served us had COVID-19? How thorough was the sanitation process used? How safe were the food preparation and handling processes?

Given all these, I would say that dining out is not a very good idea while there is no cure to COVID-19. It will only leave you insecure, even fearful and uncomfortable, thus preventing you from fully enjoying your meal .

I may be bordering on paranoia but I’m sure many of those who have already dined out had the same feeling at one point or another.

There is still nothing safer than preparing your own meals at home, until and after a cure for COVID is found.

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Jokjok (from Tommy Palpalatoc of Zamboanga City)--- Pasahero: Mama, dahan-dahan lang po. Alalahanin nyo na palaging nakasunod sa atin ang disgrasya!/Drayber: Ýun na nga eh, kaya ko nga binibilisan para di tayo abutan!

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