By: Jay Bolduc, Op-Ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader
SCAN THE LOCAL HEADLINES each morning and it’s likely you’ve considered dining in restaurants to be a risky endeavor. Almost daily there is a story about a restaurant closing due to COVID. And of the dozen locations cited in “Special Notices Regarding Potential Community Exposure” since Labor Day, 10 have been restaurants. It’s understandable to be concerned.
As an employee of a restaurant, I spend countless hours inside of one — at our bar talking with guests and interacting with employees — yet I am not concerned in the least. It’s not that I have “COVID fatigue” or have stopped taking the virus seriously. On the contrary, I know firsthand just how serious we take our guest and employee safety. I have in-depth knowledge of the hundreds of thousands of dollars my company has spent in the last six months to ensure safety.
But also understand the rationale behind those headlines I read each morning.
The main reason for the special notices issued by the state and subsequent media coverage is the public health definition of “close contact” with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. The CDC defines a close contact as, “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.”
The New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services is more stringent, defining a close contact as, “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes.”
The special notices are not being issued because restaurants are more dangerous than a retail shop, gas station, or box store checkout counter. Rather, people are simply more likely to spend more than 10 minutes near someone in a restaurant.
Click here to read the full article on unionleader.com.