|(Sept. 12, 2020, 11:05 a.m.) -- The Centers for Disease Control has released a report (case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities) which found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options "were associated with COVID-19 positivity." Adults with positive COVID-19 results "were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative [COVID-19] test results."
CDC states: "Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with [COVID-19] infection. Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities."
The CDC report speaks for itself at this link.
The City of Long Beach has detailed requirements for restaurants, most recently updated Aug. 20, limiting "restaurants and other food facilities that prepare and serve food to outdoor dining, delivery, drive thru or carry out only. No indoor dining is permitted within restaurants or other food facilities. In addition to the conditions imposed on restaurants by the State Public Health Officer, restaurants must also be in compliance with these employee safety and infection control protocols." (The detailed protocols can be viewed at this link.
During the course of the pandemic, Long Beach restaurants have had to adapt. Many now focus on pick-up/to-go options or avail themselves of City-enabled outdoor "parklets." Others (including Belmont Shore's La Strada have disappeared.
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Here's how CNN reported the CDC study. and NPR reported it. We didn't find the story reported on Breitbart.com. (We assume our savvy readers know the difference between correlation and causation...but in this case, correlation matters.)
In our view, this is a consumer driven issue with moral consequences. Regardless of what federal, state or local health authorities may deem appropriate, consumers won't patronize any business if they consider it unsafe.
But in a pandemic, consumers' individual choices inevitably impact the health and safety of many others.
This isn't just about virus-wrecked and bureaucrat-damaged businesses and their workers as economic casualties. It's also about the consequences for individuals and families, faceless and nameless to some (and disproportionately working class according to LB zip code data), trying to avoid becoming infected with an asymptomatic apolitical highly communicable virus with potential long-term morbidities and higher-than-flu mortality.
This will eventually pass, but it hasn't yet.
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