Buffets reopen in Alabama, but with new precautions

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Buffets are back in Alabama, but they’re having to use safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer for Alabama, said that for years, buffets have taken certain safety measures like sneeze guards and requiring customers to use a clean plate each time the visit the buffet. The current state health orders also mandate that buffers have an attendant, an employee who’s responsible for making sure all surfaces are kept clean.

“It’s not about the food,” Landers said. “It’s about persons touching the surfaces, touching the serving-ware, and perhaps might not have sanitized their hands.”

Landers said customers need to take precautions as well, such as sanitizing their hands before going to the buffet to help keep it clean. She said surfaces are not the most common vessel for spreading the virus, but people still need to be careful about them.

“It’s still primarily transmitted person-to-person by respiratory droplet,” she said. “But we do know that if a surface is contaminated, and a person touches that surface and then touches their nose, their mouth, their eyes, they could actually transmit COVID-19 by touching a surface that’s been contaminated and then touching any part of the respiratory tract.”

Landers also emphasized the importance of continuing to take precautions like wearing masks and social distancing. She said many of the state’s recent precautions have been effective, but the case numbers could rise again if people don’t continue to be careful.


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