CDC Assesses COVID-19 Risk with Restaurants

Health leaders here in the Tri-State say drawing connections is a bit more complicated than it seems.

Posted: Sep 18, 2020 5:19 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2020 5:26 PM

Ahead of another weekend, the Centers for Disease Control is tracking some alarming trends, finding more links between dining out and infection risk.

The data shows those who test positive are about twice as likely to have visited a restaurant recently, but health leaders here in the Tri-State say drawing those connections is a bit more complicated than it seems

"Mask up" has been the rallying cry for health officials and Tri-State leaders this year, but it just isn't possible when eating or drinking.

That's leading the CDC to take a closer look at the impact of dining out on COVID-19, and finding some common threads between infection rates and the frequency of visiting a restaurant.

But, county health officials shared, it's more complex, and not a blame game.

"Really, it's not the restaurant. It's not the act of going to a restaurant. It's the act of not social distancing, and not taking other health considerations into place," explained Lynn Herr with the Vanderburgh County Health Department.

Here at home--

"I've also got to say the restaurants in Vanderburgh County are doing a great job, they're really trying hard," Herr added.

Brian Adcock, with Gerst House restaurant on Franklin Street, shared more of their efforts, as they continue to adjust to all the pandemic has brought.

"We've spaced out our tables as much as possible on the patio. When possible we try to sit everybody every other table. Of course, sometimes that's not feasable. But [guests] are socially distanced when they're not every other table," said Adcock, the dining room supervisor.

So then--where does the greatest risk lie?

Vanderburgh County health officials go back to personal responsibility:

"The risk is not: 'wearing a mask, eating, put your mask back on, and walking out.' What we're seeing is that long term lingering. Hours over hours. Maybe not in your social bubble at a bar, or restaurant. And also, not wearing a mask, not social distancing," Herr said.

The Centers for Disease Control also highlighted air circulation inside as a consideration, which is why Gerst House and other restaurants have kept plenty of outside seating open.

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