Mr. Sara, though it doesn’t happen often, people have actually touched and played my harp while I’m playing or standing nearby. They’ll come over and pluck a bass string, or play it while they’re talking to me. Most of the time I inwardly cringe but don’t say anything, but I will say very loudly to children, “Don’t touch” hoping their parents will hear and pull them away.
When I’m on a break, I cover my harp with a very pretty cover made out of a white, sheer fabric so that you can still see through it a little. It’s like drapery fabric that lets light through. It looks nicer than a regular dust cover which some hotels and restaurants don’t want you to use. (They still want the harp to look nice while you’re away.) If young children are nearby, I go to their parents and tell them that the harp is made to tip, weights about 80 pounds, and that I wouldn’t want their children to get hurt should it fall over. Parents get the idea.
If you plan to leave your harp at the restaurant, you need to ask the manager for a place to store your harp that will be out of the way and safe. Sometimes you can have it locked away in a small room/large closet that can just be for the harp or it can be placed in someone’s office. Or, if there’s enough room for the trunk to be placed somewhere, you can lock your harp in there.