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No Denying The Evidence: Restaurants And Bars Are Helping Spread COVID-19



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The hospitality sector’s protests around the world over bans on their activities, limiting them at best to selling takeout, contrasts with the scientific evidence: well-meaning restaurant and bar owners insist they have complied scrupulously with health and safety measures, but there is no getting away from the fact that a business where people must remove their masks in order to eat or drink, has increased infection rates.

The first study to portray the obvious correlation between restaurant openings and the spread of COVID-19 was published in June by Johns Hopkins University, using data on credit card spending by 30 million customers in the United States and correlating it to the evolution of the pandemic in each state. The relationship was clear: the more spending on restaurants, the greater the number of infections.

The problem restaurants face has nothing to do with hygiene or any other measures, but on something beyond their control: the presence of super-spreaders. Basically, if you share space in a restaurant with one of these super-spreaders, your chances of becoming infected are very high, regardless of whether the restaurant has diligently complied with hygiene measures, replacing its menu with a QR code, providing hydro-alcoholic gel or ensuring that its staff keep their masks on at all times. Simply put, contagion is something completely beyond their control.

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