Across the United States this summer, restaurants and bars, reeling from mandatory lockdowns and steep financial declines, opened their doors to customers.
But the short-term gains have led to broader losses. Data from states and cities show that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars, often the largest settings to infect Americans, The New York Times reports.
In Louisiana, roughly one-quarter of the state’s cases since March that were outside of places like nursing homes and prisons have stemmed from bars and restaurants, according to state data. In Maryland, 12% of new cases last month were traced to restaurants, contact tracers there found, and in Colorado, 9% overall have been traced to bars and restaurants.
It is unclear what percentage of workers transmitted the virus among themselves, or to patrons or whether customers brought in the virus. But the clusters are worrisome to health officials because many restaurant and bar employees across the country are in their 20s and can carry the virus home and possibly seed household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West.
While millions of restaurant and bar employees who were laid off during lockdowns have been desperate to get back to work, many have found themselves caught between bosses who want them back as soon as possible and customers who balk at following safety rules, like mask wearing and maintaining social distancing. Read the full story.