Outdoor dining pop-up pods have become popular for many restaurants and eateries amid the coronavirus pandemic, but one doctor doesn’t believe they are a safe alternative to indoor dining.
“The reality is that outdoor dining bubbles are not safer than indoor dining and may actually increase your risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, WTTG-TV (Channel 5) reported. “The risk posed by lingering aerosols after diners leave a table within an outdoor enclosure constitutes at least some of the potential risk for transmission.”
The clear dining domes are normally wind-resistant and waterproof and can provide a restaurant more space for diners with a limited indoor capacity. However, Glatter said air particles can remain for up to three hours in the domes that could have poor air circulation or ventilation and surfaces may not be cleaned adequately between table changes when patrons sit to dine, WTTG reported.
Coronavirus-related restrictions on restaurant dining vary greatly nationwide by jurisdiction, though the rules for outdoor dining are generally laxer than indoor service, particularly regarding the occupancy limits.