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Is it safe to go to restaurants in a pandemic? Your guide



Editor’s note – There are few risk-free activities during the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are ways to reduce the risks. Fully vaccinated people are, of course, at a much lower risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus than people who have not been vaccinated. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen advises you to approach your business decisions with this in mind.

(CNN) – As the percentage of the vaccinated population increases, you may be wondering if now is finally the time to enjoy a dish that is not home-cooked.

Indoor eating and drinking in restaurants and bars is more risky than in some other places for several reasons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States: Not only do people from different households gather in the same space, but to take your mask on eating and drinking
Above, people eat indoors, as the indoor table continues to open in New York on March 24.  Physical distancing, barriers, and good ventilation are several ways to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

Above, people eat indoors, as the indoor table continues to open in New York on March 24. Physical distancing, barriers, and good ventilation are several ways to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

STRF / STAR MAX / IPx / AP

“You still have to be very careful when you’re in these areas,” said Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “You’re in a crowd and you don’t know the status of many of these people.”

Due to the layout of the restaurants, maintaining social distance can be difficult. And because restaurants can be noisy, people can talk louder and louder, which can increase the chance of spreading coronavirus through respiratory droplets. Depending on the ventilation flow of the restaurant, respiratory droplets and air potentially loaded with coronavirus may accumulate or spread over 6 feet.

Given these risks, the CDC’s guidelines for eating in indoor restaurants are the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

If you are fully vaccinated and become infected, you are unlikely to get Covid-19 symptoms, Stewart said. But you “may expose someone else to a disease that will eventually lead to a serious illness.”

If you plan to eat out, first make sure the restaurant follows the CDC’s recommended prevention measures. You can browse the restaurant’s website or call the business and ask. Risk-reducing restaurants include restaurants that have outdoor, remote seating; both staff and guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking; and have their menu available online.

Eating and drinking outdoors in the restaurant is safer, the CDC says, because air or airborne droplets potentially loaded with coronavirus will not flow around indoors.

Limit alcohol consumption so that you can use adequate judgment. Ask for individually packaged spices – including salt, pepper and ketchup – if possible, and do not share food. As the risk of infection increases the longer you stay in an area, limit the time you are in the restaurant, the CDC suggests.

“If you’re going to be close to other people and have a lot of snacks gathered together, then I’d try to limit the time as much as possible,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting health professor. policy and management at George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health.

Other things you can do to minimize time spent in the restaurant include pre-ordering and not ordering appetizers or more than one dish.

However, if you are fully vaccinated and “can be separated from others by at least 6 feet and have dinner with someone who is also fully vaccinated,” Wen said, “I will not have a limit for this period of time.” Whoever has dinner should also be fully vaccinated.

Everyone should cover coughing and sneezing and practice frequent hand washing.

Top image: Above, people are enjoying lunch at the Grand Central Market when the indoor dining room opens in Los Angeles on March 15th.


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