The CDC has some bad news for the restaurant industry that they published earlier this week.
According to the CDC, among people who are afflicted with COVID-19, they are twice as likely to have reported restaurant dining in the 14 days prior to becoming ill than those who tested negative.
However, there was no reported correlation between gatherings at home, shopping, going to an office, salon, gym, church/religious gathering, or using public transportation.
In the CDC’s own words:
… Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill.
The CDC isn’t certain as to why going to a restaurant is strongly correlated to COVID-19, but believes…
…[r]eports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation.
Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance.
Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.
However, according to the CDC, all restaurant exposure is not the same.
The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a restaurant or bar setting as follows:
- Lowest Risk: Food service limited to drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up.
- More Risk: Drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up emphasized. On-site dining limited to outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
- Even More Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
- Highest Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart.
COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles…
I very much hope that you, family, and friends stay safe!