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Features 1 minute 24 December 2020

These things will happen in 2021

Eating out in a post-Covid world

2021 Happy New Year Merry Christmas

2020 has been of year of unrelenting challenges, of untold sadness and wretchedness. It’s been a year that continues to wreak havoc, especially on the already beleaguered hospitality industry.

It’s certainly not easy being positive in the face of such misery, but this nightmare will one day end. It won’t be any time soon but it will end – and these things will happen in 2021.

'Cheers!'
'Cheers!'

We’ll spend endless days in noisy, busy restaurants – and love every moment of it
Perspex barriers will be ripped down
We will eat out as often as we can afford
We’ll actually get to know the names of the people who own and run our local restaurant
Spontaneity will return, usually in the form of “let’s go grab a drink”
The hospitality industry will become everyone’s favourite industry – and one that we all want to better protect
We will hug our friends more – especially that friend who’s always hated being hugged
We won’t mind queuing to get into restaurants and bars and, while we do so, we’ll stand close enough to be able to join in on other people’s conversations
We will say to strangers “Mind if I share your table?”
Menus will return in paper form and we’ll clasp them to us in a weird sort of embrace
We’ll go to weddings and embarrass ourselves at the buffet
We’ll never moan if we can’t get a dinner reservation at the time we want
We’ll get to eat Thai food in Bangkok rather than in Penge (with apologies to any Thai restaurants in Penge)
We will tip more
Friends will proffer their drink and say “taste this” and we will
We will eat food in restaurants instead of trying to recreate dishes at home from the chef’s cookbook with the usual dismal results
Packing a suitcase will suddenly become thrilling
We will shake hands more often and with more vigour
We will smile when we walk into restaurants
We will go back to eating popcorn in the cinema and wonder why we do so
We will kiss our loved ones more often
We won’t complain if a restaurant asks for the table back in 90mins because we will understand; we will now always understand
Airline food will suddenly seem “surprisingly okay”
We’ll argue about whether it’s best to eat before or after the theatre
We’ll never again look through the windows of a pub and say “Shall we look for somewhere quieter?”
We will share big bowls of food and never again criticise that one friend who’s forever double dipping
We will put our remaining masks away in a cupboard and hope to never see them again
We’ll dress up to go out
We’ll go on dates in restaurants; we’ll celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and general good news in restaurants
We’ll never talk of 2020

But until then, let’s help each other get through these next few weeks and months as safely as we can.
And let’s all have a Merry Christmas and a far, far happier 2021

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