Every day, we hear the phrases like “the new normal” and “social distancing”. They have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Things that were once routine are much more difficult and leave a lot of questions about what is acceptable now. Among other things, this includes going out for a drink with friends. With all of the conflicting opinions and advice, how do you know if drinking in public is safe now?

How-to Know if Drinking in Public is Safe Now: Navigating Covid-19

Consider the Risks

Covid-19 is a serious global pandemic. At this point, it has taken the lives of 268 thousand Americans and many more around the world. In addition, it has made millions of people very sick. Before you even consider if drinking in public is safe now, you will need to understand the risks. According to the CDC, “COVID-19 is mostly spread when people are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person. When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe, they produce respiratory droplets. Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.”

The CDC also encourages people to stay at home when they can. According to them, you have a higher risk of getting Covid is while in indoor spaces. Therefore, the longer you spend time near people in an indoor space, the higher your risk is. This risk can be slightly lessened by social distancing and wearing masks, however anytime you are spending time indoors with people outside your household, your risk increases.

What to Look For

If you decide that you are comfortable with drinking in public during the pandemic, there are things you should be on the look out for. First, pay attention to how spaced out people are. If you’re sitting at tables, are these tables at least 6 feet apart? Sitting at a crowded bar counter is certainly not a wise idea. Ventilation helps, so consider only going to establishments that have open windows or doorways to provide airflow. Better yet, spending time on an outdoor patio is even better.

Make sure to keep a mask on at all times when you are not drinking. Masks help to protect you from airborne particles that could contain COVID. Be aware of those who are intoxicated and not respecting social distancing or other known rules. In the same way, be mindful drinking too much and making poor decisions that could increase your risk. Keep in mind that the safest way drink is to do so at home with those in your household.