Why Did It Take a Pandemic to Make Us Realize Buffets Are Disgusting?

A modest proposal for an infinity ban on hot plates, mass-market buffets, and other gross Petri dishes of communal eating

Amy Martyn
Published in
6 min readApr 7, 2020


Photo illustration. Image sources: Fotograzia/Getty Images, Vudhikul Ocharoen/EyeEm/Getty Images

FFor a fleeting moment, the manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., held onto hope that people would still be excited to chow down at an overpriced hotel Easter buffet: “Get ready for a HUGE celebration in a few weeks,” Mickael Damelincourt tweeted in earnest on March 24, making a reference to a $130-a-head brunch buffet the hotel hosts every Easter Sunday. His message was roundly mocked and then deleted. When I called the hotel to ask if buffet tickets were still available, the woman who answered the phone shared the unfortunate news that the event had been canceled.

The decision to even offer the buffet during this time might seem like typical Trumpian behavior: A buffet? With the coronavirus outbreak in full swing? But Trump-connected properties weren’t the only establishments that seemed to think customers wouldn’t have any problem gathering together to dine from an elegant trough of food in the middle of a global pandemic.

On March 10, when some local health officials began to warn that Covid-19 wasn’t an abstract threat but imminent, Caesars…