Some Winter Outdoor Dining Venues Invite COVID-19 Risk
Monday, January 18, 2021
SEATTLE, Wash. -- With a cold and rainy winter settling in, many Washingtonians are counterintuitively feeling the urge to dine out.
But COVID-19 cases continue to surge, and some outdoor solutions restaurants have created to battle the elements pose risks.
Marissa Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Washington's School of Public Health who specializes in industrial hygiene, said the point of dining outside is that air flow breaks up pockets of dangerous aerosols that might linger from other diners.
"When you're outside and there are structures that are put up that might be impeding the flow of air, you're really not being able to take advantage of that ventilation," Baker explained. "And so in a lot of ways, you're still having a lot of the risks that you would have inside."
Bubble-like structures restrict air flow and can expose restaurant workers to the virus. Designs with only two or three walls are preferable.
But Baker noted even limited, safer structures still create the potential for spreading the virus.
"We definitely want to keep supporting our restaurants and the workers in our restaurants," Baker maintained. "The safest way to do it not only for yourself but also for those workers is through takeout, curbside pickup, buying gift cards."
She added eating out is also risky because people likely are meeting up with friends or even family members they don't live with.
Baker asserted many restaurants are doing the best they can while facing a tough economic situation.
"It's a challenging question of being able to keep the workers and patrons safe but also the restaurant being able to stay open and keep their workers employed," Baker concluded.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …
Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …
Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …
Health and Wellness
A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…
A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…
The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …
An environmental advocacy group in Virginia has been working to bridge generational gaps. Third Act Virginia began as a group of elder climate …
In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …