At the Thai street food restaurant Soothr, in New York City’s East Village, all the weirdness of dining in the age of COVID-19 is on display. Guests have to show proof of vaccination to a host at the window. They’re notified when they walk in that there’s a strict 90-minute time limit per table, which begins from the time of reservation. The limit is enforced a little too enthusiastically, Jiayang Fan writes in her review: “On a recent evening, a waiter tried to remove a half-finished cocktail from a table no fewer than three times in five minutes.”
Diners and restaurant operators want to know: Is this the new normal? In one year — or five — which COVID-19 dining conventions will still be in place? We’ll share our predictions.