Going out to eat is riskier than other activities during the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday in a new report.
In a study with 314 adults who were tested for COVID-19, the CDC found that adults who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely as those who tested negative to have gone to a restaurant before getting sick.
“The results of a case-control survey of symptomatic outpatients from 11 US health care facilities found that close contact with people with known COVID-1
Of the 314 people tested, about half tested positive and half negative. The tests were carried out at healthcare facilities in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
The researchers asked each participant what they had done two weeks before undergoing the coronavirus test, including wearing masks or going to restaurants, bars, salons or gyms.
Both people who tested positive and those who tested negative gave similar answers, except when it came to going to the restaurant. The data shows that people who tested positive were significantly more likely to eat in restaurants in “any designated area of the restaurant, including indoor, patio and outdoor seating.”
Most states have reopened their restaurants with precautions and restrictions, the New York Times reported. The CDC said the highest risk is having on-site dining indoors and outdoors without at least 6 feet of space between customers and workers.
“Eating and drinking on-site in places that offer such options could be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC said. “Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distances are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees and communities.”