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Places You Shouldn't Go Even if They're Open, Experts Say

Read this word of caution from a doctor who knows.

The world seemed like it was finally becoming recognizable as the access to  COVID-19 vaccines increased, and the isolation seemed to be dissipating. Just recently, however, the Delta variant of  COVID has quickly made many municipalities rethink their reopening. As society attempts to return to normalcy it is difficult to know which public places are safe, and what areas of life will still have moderate risk until the majority of the population is vaccinated.

As emergency physician, many patients ask me what I think is safe for them to do, and what areas they should still avoid until we are past the  COVID-19 pandemic. The best answer to this question for me is whether or not a patient is vaccinated, as this completely delineates if certain activities are safe.

For those who are vaccinated, the data suggests that many activities remain safe. Even for those individuals who contract  COVID after being vaccinated, the severity of the disease is severely minimized. Here at the list of things that continue to pose a risk for  COVID-19, especially for those who are not vaccinated. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long"  COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Bars are a Source of Easy Transmission

Portrait of a happy waitress working at a restaurant wearing a facemask.

Foot and beverage has taken a very significant economic hit from the beginning of the  COVID-19 pandemic. With mixed messaging, and regulations that are confusing, it has been difficult for individuals to know what risk bars and restaurants pose. Unlike restaurants where the interaction between patrons can be minimized, bars continue to be a source of easy transmission. People congregate in large numbers and are very often taking off their masks. The volume of speaking is also much greater in a bar environment which will increase the likelihood of particles being transmitted further distances. The risk is severely reduced for any person who is appropriately vaccinated.


Group Fitness Classes Carry Different Levels of Risk

tired and sweaty

For those who are not vaccinated against  COVID-19, group fitness classes remain a moderate concern for COVID-19. With much of the data supporting the fact that the two dose vaccines seem to be moderately protective against the Delta variant, the risk is very different deepening on vaccine status. For this still not vaccinated, the risk of being in a small confined area of people actively working out, continues to be moderately high risk for transmission. Sharing small volume of space with multiple people could certainly increase the risk for transmission. 



variety food buffet

Restaurants have increased safety precautions with possible outdoor eating options and minimizing the interaction of patrons. Even within all the safety options, buffets are still going to be higher risk. People are going to be closer to each other at the buffet line, and possibly not wearing masks. This is even without the risk of transmission from the food itself, but more due to the close contact with people. Even for those with vaccines, this environment may necessitate a higher level of hygiene. 

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Movie Theaters

People in cinema with protection mask keeping distance away to avoid physical contact

The number of people watching a movie with you is going to be the main concern when inside a movie theater. If a movie theater has appropriate separation between even other parties, the risk is still probably low, but for new release is where the theater is filled, the risk continues to be too high. 


Planes are Low Risk for Those Who are Vaccinated

woman sitting inside airplane wearing KN95 FFP2 protective mask

The FAA has been very strict with its mask requirements from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reality is, that for those that are vaccinated, the risk on a plane remains very low. Airlines have been fastidious with cleaning the aircrafts, and ensuring that their employees and crew are wearing masks at all times. For those who are unvaccinated, traveling on a plane still comes with an increased risk of transmission of  COVID-19.

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Final Word From the Doctor

Doctor's gloved hands using cotton before vaccine.

COVID-19 is changing and adapting just like all viruses will do over time. These adaptations can make a variant that is less transmissible, or even less concerning than the original. It can also cause a situation which we are seeing right now with a variant that is easier to transmit and seems to be more virulent. The key in any of these instances is prevention, as we have no medicine to give those who are already infected. It is imperative to be vaccinated against cover as vaccines work, and it is important to do whatever possible to minimize the risk posed by  COVID-19. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch  COVID.

Kenneth Perry, MD FACEP
Dr. Perry is an active practicing physician and Medical Director of an Emergency Department in Charleston, South Carolina. Read more about Kenneth