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Will salad bars become a relic of life before COVID-19?

Salad bars might have always been a little gross, but concerns about the spread of coronavirus might eliminate them entirely.
/ Source: TODAY

Many things about our daily lives have likely been changed forever by the coronavirus pandemic — from the way we work to the way we grocery shop. And, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, we can add salad bars to that long list.

Many restaurants have closed self-serve salad bars due to concerns about COVID-19, instead opting to sell pre-packaged options instead. J. Lynn Lyons, a New Orleans bartender, told the Wall Street Journal that she felt a "sense of loss" over the potential disappearance of self-serve salad bars, where customers can create their own unique creations with few limits.

"I know I'm making a salad bar sound like some sort of utopia," she said. "But they were pretty damned awesome."

Hosts on the 3rd Hour of TODAY had some mixed emotions about the status of the salad bars.

"I recognize that it's pretty gross, but I would go to them," Dylan Dreyer said, adding that the bars were "pretty nasty" even before the pandemic because the only protection between customers and the food was a sneeze guard.

Shenielle Jones pointed out that a sneeze guard isn't entirely protective, since she's short enough to fit under it!

"I'm 4'11", so I'm always under (the sneeze guard) anyway!" Shenielle said, as Craig Melvin joked that even his young children were taller. "I've wondered about that all my adult life!"

Even with the sneeze guards in question, Shenielle said that she would still go to a salad bar; Dylan said that despite the potential germ exposure, she liked the choices and options available to you.

Some alternatives suggested by the co-hosts included having someone behind the counter making salads on demand.

"Certain places you go, they have the choices with someone behind the counter making your salad for you, and I feel like that's a safer way to do it," Dylan said.

"I think that's the future, quite frankly," Shenielle said, adding that make-your-own bars are a great way to control the cost of your meal.

Al Roker noted that with salad bars, you can eat as healthy as you'd like - even if sometimes that doesn't quite work out.

"I think a lot of times you think 'Oh, it's healthy,' and you end up eating more than you probably want to," he said.

"It's not (healthy) when you put six pasta salads on top of your lettuce!" Dylan joked.

Despite the drawbacks and potential safety concerns, Craig Melvin was still optimistic about the fate of the supermarket staple.

"They'll probably come back at some point," he said.