Is It Safe to Eat at Restaurants Again? Here’s What to Expect

After a year of start-stop openings, seating restrictions and delivery experiments, your favorite eatery is likely seating diners again. More U.S. restaurants reopened in February than in any month since last spring, when some cities first started loosening restrictions, according to Yelp Inc. Reopenings remained elevated last month, the Yelp data shows. While restaurants are trying to resume normal service, some pandemic practices will remain. Here’s what you need to know:

Have restaurants all reopened?

They are getting closer. Seventy-five percent of U.S. restaurants are now open for business and the number of people eating out is nearing pre-pandemic levels, according to reservation booking site OpenTable. It’s best to call ahead, though. About 10% of the 778,807 restaurants that existed prior to the pandemic have closed for good, market-research firm Datassential said last week.

Can I eat indoors everywhere? And do I need to wear a mask?

Every state now

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Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Jaime E. Love

Teachers may be able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months, news that comes as the Chicago Teachers Union is fighting a return to physical classrooms as the district returned to school on Monday.

Because not everyone currently eligible to get the shots has taken them, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said those shots should be made available to the next round of 3.2 million eligible recipients in phase 1b — those 65 and older and those who are front-line essential workers. That category includes teachers and other school personnel.

City officials project educators could start receiving vaccine doses by late February or March — timing that union leaders say is worth waiting for before reopening schools. About 71% of teachers and 81% of paraprofessional staff expected back went to schools Monday, slightly higher than the percentage of teachers who did so last week, according to data provided by CPS.

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List: Here’s the best barbecue restaurants in Macon, Georgia

Jaime E. Love

Georgia College history professor Craig Pascoe, center, stands by the sign of the original Fincher’s Bar-B-Q in Macon with Jake Fincher, left, and student Andrew Braddam. The sign will be part of an exhibit on barbecue history that Pascoe and his students are building for the Atlanta History Center.

The Telegraph

Editor’s note: As 2020 come to a close, the Telegraph looks back on our Best of the Best contest to share our readers’ favorite restaurants and businesses.

Residents of Macon-Bibb County voted in multiple categories for The Telegraph’s 2020 Best of the Best Awards, including Best Pizza Place, Best Restaurant and Best Coffee Shop.

However, only three restaurants were chosen by voters to win the Best Barbecue category.

The Best of the Best awards are given to businesses who receive the most votes online through The Telegraph’s website.

Here are the restaurants who received the most

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Here’s How You Can REALLY Support Black-Owned Restaurants

Jaime E. Love

The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked an abundance of lists of Black- and POC-owned businesses that everyone can support at this time. And in light of COVID-19, many restaurants need that support more than ever.

It’s estimated that almost half of Black-owned businesses across the country have shut down since the pandemic began, due in large part to a lack of savings and trouble getting access to federal loans. However, Yelp says searches for Black-owned businesses on that platform have “increased 35-fold” during this year’s protests against systemic racism and police brutality, according to USA Today.

But are the lists and increased searches enough? Will that sustain these restaurants in the long run after the protests have stopped and when COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic?

We interviewed restaurant owners to find out what they truly need for their businesses to thrive today, tomorrow and in the future.

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