COVID suggestions keep evolving. I did a little analysis in July, mostly focused on the question as to how we should have lunch at work… inside, outside, distanced, etc… Here’s what I came up with:
There’s no perfect answer but here’s what my research is digging up. My own input at the end.
CDC on colleges and masking – Wear a mask when you’re indoors. When outdoors, you don’t need a mask unless you’re in “close contact” with people. “Close contact” is defined as within 6 feet of another person for greater than 15 minutes if you’re unmasked, or 3 feet if you’re masked
CDC on building ventilation To paraphrase a long page: more ventilation, more outside air is always good. Use fans to get rid of dead air spots but don’t blow air from one person onto another. HEPA filters are good in small spaces. Improving HVAC filters is good but not at the top of the list
A google search for “study covid restaurant” turns up lots of articles saying that dining is a risky activity. A notable issue: a case where a strongly blowing air conditioner infected people 21 feet away from one another with just 5 minutes of mask-off time.
Here’s a study with an important reminder, that all of the efforts help but none perfectly:
“COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks and 39% lower in schools that improved ventilation. Ventilation strategies associated with lower school incidence included dilution methods alone (35% lower incidence) or in combination with filtration methods (48% lower incidence).”
Here’s the guidance for UCSF hospital on dining and COVID. It’s a quick read. Paraphrased, I believe it reads, “Yeah, you could eat indoors but outdoors is a lot better”
What do -I- think? Dining outdoors generally automatically provides far greater ventilation than almost any indoor venue. I do not feel comfortable dining in a shared space with potentially stagnant air.
For our space, I’d like to figure out the airflow and consider maybe adding fans to remove any stagnant air spots.