With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations breaking records daily, cities and states are implementing mitigation measures to stop the spread. That may mean your town has a curfew, or your restaurants have limited service—or perhaps your region has no rules at all, relying on you to practice the public health fundamentals, like washing your hands and avoiding crowds. That's where this article comes in. These are the 10 businesses you shouldn't enter even if they're open, informed by CDC guidelines, the Texas Medical Association's risk rankings and advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Don't Walk Into a Bar
"Bars are really problematic," says Dr. Fauci. "I have to tell you, if you look at some of the outbreaks that we've seen, it's when people go into bars, crowded bars. You know, I used to go to a bar. I used to like to sit at a bar and grab a hamburger and a beer. But when you're at a bar, people are leaning over your shoulder to get a drink, people next to each other like this. It's kind of fun because it's social, but it's not fun when this virus is in the air. So I would think that if there's anything you want to clamp down on for the time being, it's bars," he says. Coronavirus is more easily transmitted at a bar when "seating capacity is not reduced and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart," according to the CDC. If you want a drink, order one to go or have it delivered.
Don't Eat Indoors at Restaurants in Hot Zones
"If we're in the hot zone the way we are now, where there's so many infections around, I would feel quite uncomfortable even being in a restaurant," says Dr. Fauci. "And particularly if it was at full capacity." He told CNN this month: "I feel badly about restaurants losing business. And I feel it's almost a neighborly obligation to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat….Even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for takeout purely to support those places." Do the same.
Dr. Fauci Won't Enter a Gym
"According to the CDC report, 7.8% of people who tested positive had been to the gym in the past two weeks, compared to 6.3% of those who tested negative," reports Health. "Dr. Fauci explained that people tend to breathe heavily in gyms, expelling more potentially contaminated droplets into a contained space with no outside air filtering in. Also, gym equipment is shared, and the communal surfaces can harbor germs. In a study published in the journal Sports Health earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25% of the surfaces tested in four different athletic training facilities."
Don't Get a Haircut Without a Mask on You and the Hairdresser. And Consider Reducing Your Visits to Reduce Your Exposure.
"It depends. I used to get a haircut every five weeks," says Dr. Fauci. "I get a haircut every 12 weeks now. With a mask on me as well as a mask on the person who's cutting the hair, for sure."
Don't Fly This Thanksgiving—Especially if You're at High Risk
Fauci—and the CDC—have advised against Thanksgiving travel—by planes, trains and automobiles. "You can get COVID-19 during your travels," warns the CDC. "You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus."
If you absolutely must board a plan—"if you wear a mask, the chances that you're going to [be infected] dramatically diminish," Fauci told Dennis Quaid on the actor's podcast. "Most of the modern planes are the new ones that have … what's called HEPA filters in that the air goes through filters that pull out viral particles."
Stick With In-Home Manicures for Now
Nail salons were given a 7 out of 10 on the risk scale in the Texas Medical Association's risk rankings. "The biggest risk in a nail salon is going to be sitting close to other people. If they're not wearing masks, face shields, or both, you could potentially be exposed to infection for a fairly prolonged period of time," according to Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D. from University of California San Diego School of Medicine. If you're at high risk for a severe case or you're worried about contracting the virus, it's best to stick with in-home manicures for now.
Don't Ride Public Transportation if You're in a High Risk Category
Is it safe to give the public transportation your business and ride the rails—or the bus or a trolley? "It depends on your individual circumstances," says Fauci. "If you are someone who is in the highest risk category, as best as possible, don't travel anywhere. Or if you go someplace, you have a car, you're in your car by yourself, not getting on a crowded subway, not getting on a crowded bus, or even flying in an airplane. If you're a 25-year-old who has no underlying conditions, that's much different."
Don't Eat at a Traditional Buffet
At a buffet, you have more chances to interact with other people and if the restaurant is crowded, it can be tough to socially distance. You're sharing utensils with other potentially infected people so if you touch your nose or mouth, you may contract the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set strict guidelines for buffets and it "recommends frequent washing and sanitizing of all food contact surfaces and utensils." However, if you're worried about coronavirus, it is best to skip a buffet-style restaurant for a while. Or find one that's taking precautions: The Wicked Spoon Buffet in Las Vegas, for example, has reopened—and is keeping patrons safer by plating food for them.
Attend Virtual Religious Services for Now
While some religious organizations are still offering online-only services, there have been some establishments that have decided to open. Before attending church, make sure your establishment is implementing the guidelines suggested by the CDC. Social distancing may be tough, especially in a large organization, but it's important to help stop the spread.
Religious organizations should remain "consistent with applicable federal and State laws and regulations," according to the CDC. If your church doesn't seem to be following these guidelines, you may want to skip Sunday service for a while.
Skip the Sporting Event
Most sporting events are held outdoors, which lowers your risk of virus infection. However, it's still important to wear your mask and maintain social distancing from other spectators (or parents)—and even better to skip them entirely during this surge, if you want zero risk. At the very least, "avoid using restroom facilities or concession areas at high traffic times, such as intermission, half-time, or immediately at the end of the event," the CDC recommends. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.