Is Dining Outside Safe During The Current Pandemic?

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Because of coronavirus restrictions and mandates, many restaurants have been forced to provide outside-only dining in order to get customers to stay and eat meals.

The question? How safe is it to dine outdoors? ABC's Good Morning America asked seven infectious disease specialists about it.

All seven experts said they would not dine out if the town or city is a COVID-19 hotspot. In areas of low COVID transmission, 2 of the 7 said they still would not dine out even if the tables were outside. 

"In a hotspot state, everybody needs to be doing what they can to reduce the spread of the virus ... that means social distancing, masks, all of the things that are really hard to do when you're eating out," said Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA.

While all of the infectious disease experts prefer takeout or delivery right now, there are precautions to take if you decide to dine out. Outdoor seating is the best-case scenario. Make sure the restaurant is encouraging social distancing, the servers and hosts are wearing masks, and anyone not eating is keeping their masks on.

"I think all epidemiologists are a big fan of to-go food right now," said Dr. Natalie Dean, assistant professor biostatistics at the University of Florida.

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