Charles P. Gerba, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Arizona, provided some insight into whether or not it is safe to go out and eat a restaurant during the current coronavirus outbreak. Greba explained that going out to a restaurant increases one's exposure to other people and potentially to the virus, according to Today.
Many restaurants have seen significantly lower sales in recent weeks and Americans hunker down at home to avoid public areas. When looking to take every possible precaution, or if one suffers from increased health risks that would make them more susceptible to the virus, it is prudent to avoid restaurants.
"Any time you increase your exposure to public areas, you increase your risks," Greba explained.
But if one had a special dinner reservation they would like to make or was especially determined to go out, there are special precautions they could take that could potentially limit their risk. This includes being wary of where they are eating. Places like buffets or self-serve restaurants where others could be breathing on, or even coughing or sneezing near the food, should be avoided.
When in the restaurant, it's important to be aware of all the things that one might touch, use, or put into their mouths. This includes the table tops themselves and even the menus that have likely not been sanitized. Child seats, in particular, should be properly wiped down before being used.
"If you're going out to eat, bring hand sanitizer and a disinfectant wipe to wipe your table," Greba advised.
It's, of course, difficult to know how sanitary the restaurant staff is when preparing, plating and serving the meal. It's also hard to tell how well-cleaned the utensils, plates, or glasses being used are. These are all things to be considered when making the decision to dine out or stay home.
"(Before dining out) you would have to feel confident that the restaurant is cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces touched by fellow diners," said Dr. Brittany Brinley, a physician based in Los Angeles.
"Evidence suggests the novel coronavirus can remain active on surfaces for hours to days," she continued, which raises concerns regarding all the surfaces and tools used throughout the dining out experience.
It's not just when dining out that Americans should take special precautions. It's also when they are grocery shopping and especially when using the self check out. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the coronavirus is considered a pandemic and should be taken very seriously.