San Diego County continues to reopen public spaces and sectors of the economy, and public health experts say different spaces and places around town carry different levels of risk for people trying to stay clear of COVID-19.
The beach is considered a low risk, according to a doctor from Ohio State University epidemiology professor Dr. William Miller. Whenever you're choosing between outdoor or indoor activity, outdoor activity is likely going to be lower risk. As long as you maintain social distancing and follow the county rules to keep moving you should be safe visiting the beach.
“In general beaches should be a pretty safe activity as long as people respect each other’s space, and the key thing there is really physical distancing so each blanket and each chair should be at least 6 feet apart,” said Dr. Miller said.
Hotel living is also relatively low risk, according to Dr. Miller. When you're confined to your room, you're not coming into contact with many people. As long as the hotel is following proper cleaning standards you should be safe, but keep in mind - common spaces can still be problematic.
"Your biggest exposures are in the initial reception area when you're being greeted by the people there. The elevators too, just recognize any elevator in any setting is a fairly high risk environment," Miller said.
The mall was categorized as medium risk by Harvard University Medical School's Dr. Abraar Karan. That is, if the malls are playing by the rules. Dr. Karan said people should try their hardest to avoid crowded environments.
"Those situations can range anywhere from a couple of people in a store and they never interact with one another to a number of people crowding outside a store, and now you have a higher risk situation," he said.
Restaurants are considered medium to high risk, according to Karan. That's because servers come in contact with many different guests throughout the day, and if some of them are sick but asymptomatic there could be a higher potential for transmission. Passing condiments between tables and similar forms of sharing should be limited.
“The issue with restaurants is that you are in a place for a sustained amount of time, so you may be sitting there for an hour or longer, you’re right across from somebody else. I don’t know who you’re going to the restaurant with, but you’re not going to be able to wear a mask while you’re eating for most of it,” Karan said.
Salons and Barber Shops
Similar to restaurant servers, hairdresser come in contact with many people everyday, making these establishments medium to high risk as well, according to Miller. And just like servers or their guests, if a stylist's client is asymptomatic the virus could spread without anybody knowing it.
“There’s no way to either cut someone’s hair or do someone’s nails without being physically close to them. So for sure, if you’re going to go to a nail salon or a hair salon or a barber shop just make sure that that particular place is respectful of the regulations,” Miller said.
Places of Worship
Miller categorized places of worship as high risk and said there have been examples of community spread in these establishments around the world. Miller said worshipers should stay away from activities like choir singing, and they should also consider the ventilation qualities of the building.