WELLS Yes, I agree, and it’s especially frustrating because it’s been nearly two years since the virus reached our shores. I have two children, both in high school, and both were sent home with rapid tests this week. That’s great, but it would be even bigger if it had been going on for months. The lack of testing, massive amounts of testing, and failure to emphasize the importance of testing until recently are just maddening. Because unlike March 2020, we have had a lot of time to prepare.
RAO It’s actually embarrassing. Sidebar, but since the symptoms of this variant have been reported as milder (which doesn’t necessarily mean mild), I think a lot of people who were careful during the previous wave are now less careful, but I’m terrified of losing my sense of smell among other things again.
WELLS No, we don’t want you to get sick again! How’s your nose by the way?
RAO Oh you know. Sensitive! Anxious! Exhausted! No, it’s okay. Thank you. I’ve got my scent all back, but unfortunately it’s a symptom you can experience over and over when you get sick, and there’s no guarantee it’ll come back just because it came back once before.
WELLS Nobody has any idea what’s going to happen, right?
RAO I certainly don’t. I’ll say, I don’t feel as hopeless as I used to be, and worried, because I’ve seen restaurant people find new ways of doing things, or start new businesses on the fringe, and I wish they hadn’t. on, but they do.
WELLS I keep saying that restaurant people are like theater people – no matter what, the show goes on. Once I’m pretty sure I’m not walking around with virus particles bursting out of my skull, I’ll be doing review meals again.
RAO It’s so impressive to me that you’ve been on a regular grading schedule for much of the pandemic. I wanted to talk to you, in part, because I feel like I have no idea what’s happening or what I should be doing! Everything changes from day to day, and even my own risk assessment will change from day to day.
WELLS Yes, government guidelines for restaurant reviewers were scarce!
WELLS Many restaurant workers don’t even know what to do: how long should they isolate after an exposure, or after a positive test, etc.? I think a lot of us were pretty sure that the vaccines were kind of over, and now that we’re in the middle of yet another wave with its own patterns, it’s really hard to know what to do.