The State of Maine has begun the roll-out of a multi-phase plan to reopen the economy. One industry that has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic is the restaurant industry.

Restaurants are asked to meet certain criteria before allowing dine-in customers back into their establishments. The state did release a checklist of suggestions for restaurants to follow.

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Included in the checklist are requirements for employees to wear face coverings, suggestions to utilize reservations and call ahead seating as a best practice, considering senior/high-risk only dining hours, as well as listing various protocols to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

Many of these bullet points are to be expected, but one point has been catching many off guard and raising questions:

For contact tracing purposes, maintain records of customers, including one customer name and contact information per party and the server of the table.

Yes, restaurants will be asked to trace those entering their establishments. So, what is contact tracing?

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According to The CDC, it's a way in which to help health officials track spread and exposure to the coronavirus. When someone is diagnosed with coronavirus health officials ask them who they have been in close contact with while infectious. At this point, officials reach out to the named individuals to inform them of possible exposure, but they do not reveal the identity of the individual who tested positive for the virus. Those who were exposed are then encouraged to quarantine for 14 days.

Now you know. If a restaurant asks for your name, don't put up a fuss because you can't claim ignorance. If you're not comfortable with it, don't go and take it up with the state. It's that simple. Just don't take out your frustrations on the staff that are just trying to do their jobs. A job that I guarantee you, they are beyond appreciative to have.

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