What's The Risk Of Going Out To Eat?

In our series "What's the Risk?", experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk Of Going Out To Eat?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Alex asked: “What's the risk of getting COVID-19 if I want to eat out at a restaurant inside or outside?"

We asked the experts: Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from eating out at a restaurant is medium-risk. 

"It's not the food part. It's the exposure to other people that we're really concerned about. And therefore, takeout is probably your safest bet. It would be nice to be able to do outdoor, especially if they can do distancing and limit the number of people," Hafiz said.

"The outdoor would probably be preferable to indoor, but going back to that social distancing and making sure that you can maintain that six feet of separation is really the most important piece of it," Cary said.

"It would be lower in an outdoor setting. We know that airflow, temperature, sunlight really play a big role in virus transmission. And so eating outside is safer than eating inside. Other risks come with how close you are to the other people who are at the restaurant. So moving tables at least six feet apart decreases risk. And then obviously how close you come in contact with your server is the other place where there's potential for transmission of infection," Rajapaske said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here