BY: CLAIRE KIM
Due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, within the past several months, hundreds of stores and restaurants have been forced to temporarily close across the nation. Hard for business owners themselves as they are unable to profit or maintain a steady stream of income during their “hibernation” period, this shut down has also made the experience of ordinary shopping difficult for customers as well. The prospect of finding an open store nearby has become more challenging than ever, and even when we happen to find a viable option, sometimes the hours listed online have not been updated since the beginning of the pandemic, thus reading misguided information.
Because both my parents work, the option to “to-go” lunch or dinner has always been up our alley. In fact, more often than not, takeout meals have cluttered our kitchen tables, leaving us with stacked plastic boxes to refrigerate to eat later during the week. Most of the time, takeout meals have been a win-win situation: we save time not cooking the meals ourselves and enjoy delicious entrees unique to the restaurant we choose. The one problem that comes with ordering takeout so often, however, is the burden of figuring out which restaurants are open for business and what “special hours” correlate to the hours we scheduled to go pick up. I don’t know how many times we have ordered food but realized that we picked the wrong location or didn’t acknowledge the new store hours in place, leaving us with empty calls.
It’s a saddening experience; but, luckily, it is one that has lasted temporarily.
As a result of such terrible incidences, Apple Maps and Google Maps have announced updated, more real-time based services on their respective apps. Now, the struggle of debating whether the written store hours are reliable or not can be evaded!
“As part of its COVID-19 updates, Google [has now added] a line on a restaurant’s info page that lists the status of dine-in, takeout, and delivery service. Like Google Maps, Apple’s Maps includes the restaurant’s phone number and website for details straight from the source. Use this contact information to confirm current delivery and takeout services — along with any outdoor-dining options.” (New York Times)
Other than checking the status of restaurants, Apple Maps and Google Maps have also upgraded their applications to find COVID-19 testing sites, socially distant activities, digital diversions, and so much more! For more details, check out this article by the New York Times: Your Trusty Map Apps Can Help You Navigate the Pandemic.