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The One Place You Shouldn't Go Even If It's Open

Bars "have a tendency to facilitate irresponsible behavior" and can be hotbeds for COVID-19.
Woman at the entrance to a closed clothing store.

With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surging in nearly every state, many are implementing mitigation measures to slow the spread. New Jersey, for example, has implemented new regulations. "We do have some realities that are stark," said Gov. Phil Murphy this morning. "We've got a vortex of a lot of bad facts, we've got cold weather, people letting their hair down with fatigue, and then holiday after holiday."

No matter where you live, there's one place you should avoid to protect yourself, your family, your neighboring states—and your fellow Americans, to whom you might unwittingly infect. That place is a bar. Read on to find out why they are so dangerous, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Says Bars are "Problematic"

As the nation's top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci has long warned against watering holes, even testifying before Congress about them. "Bars are really problematic. I have to tell you, if you look at some of the outbreaks that we've seen, it's when people go into bars, crowded bars," Fauci said last week. "I used to like to sit at a bar and grab a hamburger and a beer. But when you're at a bar, people are leaning over your shoulder to get a drink, people next to each other like this. It's kind of fun because it's social, but it's not fun when this virus is in the air. So I would think that if there's anything you want to clamp down on for the time being, it's bars." 

The CDC Says Bars Can Spread the Virus

In a study, the CDC reported that "case-patients were more likely to report dining at a restaurant or going to a bar/coffee shop than were control-participants. Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19. As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities."

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The CDC Chief Has Been in Favor of Closing Bars

Bars and other venues "that have a tendency to facilitate irresponsible behavior" should be closed, the head of the Centers for Disease Control said in Charlotte in July. "I'm a strong advocate for closing bars and I remain to be an advocate of limiting the restaurants," to ensure adequate social distancing, Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said during a news conference.

WHO Makes Bars Sound Like a Breeding Ground for COVID-19

When you read the World Health Organization's description of how coronavirus is transmitted, it sounds like a bar would be ground zero. "COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which spreads between people, mainly when an infected person is in close contact with another person," they write. "The virus can spread from an infected person's mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe heavily. These liquid particles are different sizes, ranging from larger 'respiratory droplets' to smaller 'aerosols'. Other people can catch COVID-19 when the virus gets into their mouth, nose or eyes, which is more likely to happen when people are in direct or close contact (less than 1 metre apart) with an infected person. Current evidence suggests that the main way the virus spreads is by respiratory droplets among people who are in close contact with each other. Aerosol transmission can occur in specific settings, particularly in indoor, crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces, where infected person(s) spend long periods of time with others."

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Many States Are Limiting Access to Bars

Nevada just instituted a 25% capacity limit on bars. Ohio and Massachusetts have a curfew to limit opening hours. Bars are closed in Minnesota, except for take out service. "The numbers right now are horrific," Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said during a Tuesday press briefing. "I don't want to lose humanity that is in middle of this … as we think about Thanksgiving and gathering, it's really critically important to think about Minnesotans." So avoid bars—unless you get take-out—and no matter where you live, to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.