The state of California changed its public health guidelines for San Diego County recently to allow for indoor dining at restaurants at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. A new CDC report, however, has linked dining at restaurants to an increased chance of contracting COVID-19.
The report did not distinguish between whether respondents ate at a restaurant indoors or outdoors. Most medical experts say doing anything outdoors is less risky than doing an activity indoors.
"We know the conditions where COVID-19 is most likely to spread. It's most likely to spread when you’re not wearing a mask, you have close prolonged face to face contact and we know that if you’re at a restaurant, particularly indoors, you have almost all of the factors working against you," said Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Karan says there are a lot of alternatives to dining out.
"You have the option of taking out, you have the option of just not dining out at all or you have the option of dining outdoors," he said.
He says if you must go out to a restaurant make sure you choose one where tables are spaced six feet apart, try to eat outside even if it means waiting a little bit longer for a table, and choose a restaurant that has good sanitizing and face mask policies.
He says if you must eat indoors try to choose a restaurant that has good ventilation or big windows that are open.