Health Experts Give Their Take On The Most Risky Public Places To Visit Amid Pandemic

While restaurants and bars could be a cause for concern, a public park would be less risky, experts say.

People lounge in a New York City park.
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While restaurants and bars could be a cause for concern, a public park would be less risky, experts say.

As Americans are slowly trying to transition back to their normal routines amid the coronavirus pandemic, health experts say some public places are less risky to visit than others. While one should certainly be cautious about visiting crowded restaurants or bars, other public places like parks reportedly pose less of a risk to one’s health, according to Today.

Dr. Saad Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health and a professor of infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, explained why Americans should really be careful of their surroundings while in a restaurant or bar. Even if the business is only “moderately crowded,” it could still be dangerous as there is an increased risk of the transmission of germs.

In addition, in locations like bars, people are less likely to stay at one particular spot at the venue. They will likely move from a table to the bar or throughout the room while talking with others.

One way to decrease the risk of spreading illnesses in bars or restaurants is to move them, if possible, outside.

“One mitigating factor is that we have evidence of a lot less transmission outdoors. At least for the next few months, as we figure out strategies as a global community, going outdoors would be very helpful,” Dr. Omer explained.

People should also keep in mind that outdoor exercise can still be dangerous if it is not done properly. Social distancing should still be practiced and masks should be worn when there are a lot of other people around. While large public parks are generally safe, playgrounds where children will touch many surfaces and be in close proximity to others, are not. Dr. Omer noted that physical exercise is still important but that it should be done in different ways now.

“Playgrounds are a different thing. I’m a big fan of activity and people going out, but maybe kids should start looking at things like hiking… A playground is a special category. It’s hard to keep crazy cleaning protocols in these situations,” he said.

Dr. Purvi Parikh, a pediatric allergist, gave his take on whether or not retail stores are safe to frequent at this time. While he noted that shopping is typically a low-risk activity, people should be required to wear masks if they wish to enter. In addition, surfaces should be cleaned frequently.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, restaurants are beginning to re-open their dining areas to the public after several months but with many changes. For example, McDonald’s received a 59-page instructional with steps they must follow to re-open their dining rooms.