As vaccinations continue to increase in pace in the United States, some parts of normal life are beginning to return slowly. In some areas, this includes the return to outdoor dining, as many local ordinances against indoor dining and capacity rules are repealed. But with the threat of COVID still present, experts warn that you should still not linger at your table in a restaurant ̵
No one can be blamed for wanting to enjoy every minute by sitting down at your favorite restaurant, especially after it’s probably been a while since the last time you were able to enjoy a meal out. But according to experts, one of the safest things you can do is keep your visit going as quickly as possible.
“If you want to be very close to other people and there are lots of eateries packed together, then I tried to limit the time as much as possible,” Leana Wen, MD, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN. In most cases, you can do this by just holding a course and looking at a menu in advance so you know exactly what you want to order when you sit down. And for more up-to-date COVID information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Even if you have already been vaccinated, it means that you step out to eat in public, that you enter a room where there may be people who are still susceptible to the virus. And even though you may be protected from becoming seriously ill with COVID, there is still a chance that you may be contagious and “possibly expose another to illness that may end up with a serious illness,” There’s Stewart, MD, a family physician with Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told CNN.
Stewart says this makes the risk levels for a person eating indoors the same for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, making it important to try to get at least six feet between you and other eateries and wear your mask when not eating. to drink. “You still have to be very careful about being in these areas. You are in a crowd and you do not know the status of many of these people,” he added. And for more on where officials say you should not go, check out the CDC warns you to avoid this one place even if you are vaccinated.
With spring in full swing, some of the options for outdoor seating that were too chilly in the colder months are quickly becoming the property for a meal out on the town. They happen to be a much safer alternative to eating indoors, as ventilation reduces the chances of you exposing others to your exhaled drops, say the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, it is important to point out that while small enclosed dining tables such as cabins, tents or domes may protect you from the elements, they can also put you and anyone you eat with at risk of exposure. CDC guidelines say that fully vaccinated groups are at low risk in this kind of situation. Still, if your table mixes people from different households who are not vaccinated, try to avoid this kind of seating.
The highly effective vaccines that have been rolled out mean that your risk of catching COVID is greatly reduced once you have received your shots. Wen tells CNN that if you and your dining partners are fully vaccinated and “can be separated from others by at least 6 feet … I would not have a limit to that time period,” stressing that your full batch must be immunized for this to be true.
However, if you are eating out with someone who has not yet received all the necessary doses, there are still a few other red flags you can look for to avoid a potentially risky situation while grabbing a bite. The agency’s guidelines warn against “eating in poorly ventilated restaurants where social distance is not possible, servers and staff do not wear masks, and restaurants do not wear masks when they are not actively eating or drinking,” and to avoid walking in if you spot any of these. And for more on how to prepare for your shots, check them out, do not do it the night before your vaccine appointment, experts say.