CALGARY -- Dining out doesn’t look the same since the pandemic and as restaurants adapt to new safety protocols, fewer people intend to visit them according to a new survey.

When Angus Reid surveyed 1,505 Canadians in early June, 52 per cent of the people questioned said they intend to avoid restaurants in the coming months to protect their own health.

Just 18 per cent planned to visit a restaurant as soon as possible while 33 per cent intend to wait until a potential second COVID-19 wave ends.

Buffet restaurants face additional challenges that some experts say could prevent them from resuming operations until a vaccine is readily available.

In March, an outbreak of the virus was reported among several doctors who attended a curling bonspiel in Edmonton that featured a buffet.

"Commonly touched surfaces, like serving spoons at a buffet, can be a mechanism for spread," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical of health, on March 23.  

Many restaurants offering buffets or shared dining have adapted their businesses including offering take-out instead.

The lead author of the report said Canadians did not completely stop supporting restaurants as 83 per cent h ordered from their favourite eatery during the pandemic.

"Canadians appear to have never given up on restaurants but when you’re at home, there are limitations to enjoying food prepared by a restaurant," said Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director of the Agri Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

Charlebois adds dining out will likely involve slower service, fewer menu choices and higher prices as restaurants manage the new safety measures.