CDC Study: Dining Out Increases COVID-19 Risk

people dining out

Patrons of restaurants and bars are more likely to contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC reported an investigation of COVID-19 outpatients from 11 hospitals found patients were twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant.

“Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19,” researchers wrote. “As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees and communities.”

Exposure to the coronavirus is exacerbated at restaurants and pubs because masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, while shopping and other indoor activities do not preclude mask use, the survey said.

In the 14 days before coming down with the illness, more than 70 percent of patients surveyed reported they always used a mask in public. But patients were more likely to have reported dining at a restaurant in the two weeks before onset of the illness.

Among 107 participants who reported dining at a restaurant and 21 participants who reported going to a bar or coffee shop, patients reported few patrons adhered to recommendations such as wearing a mask or social distancing.

In June, a JPMorgan study found a connection between increased spending on dining out and proliferation of COVID-19.

Analyst Jesse Edgerton discovered that heightened eatery spending led to new instances of the virus in that location three weeks later. He examined information from 30 million Chase debit and credit cardholders, as well as the case monitoring from Johns Hopkins University.

This week, PYMNTS reported that people have turned to their favorite comfort foods to help them through the pandemic.

On Thursday (Sept. 10) Papa John’s announced its largest North American traditional store development agreement in more than 20 years as it teamed up with franchisee HB Restaurant Group for a big push in Greater Philadelphia.

“Recent record sales have driven further gains in store profitability,” Amanda Clark, Papa John’s chief development officer, said in announcing the deal. “Combined with our resilient eCommerce and delivery model, a transforming brand and significant whitespace, Papa John’s today offers franchise investors a truly compelling opportunity.”