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This One State Is Refusing to Shut Down Restaurants Amid COVID Surges

The governor says COVID-19 is more likely to spread inside homes than bars and restaurants.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Studies have shown COVID-19 can spread through the air inside restaurants in as little as five minutes, yet one U.S. state governor is allowing restaurants to stay open even as the number of cases continues to rise.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida restaurants will stay fully open and cited a recent report that blames gatherings in homes for the spread of the virus, according to the New York Post. The total number of cases the state has seen since the pandemic began is over 1 million, with almost 60,000 people hospitalized. The positive test rate, despite falling below 10% over the summer, is climbing up again and is now 9.28%, local Tampa news station FOX 13 News says.

"The vast majority of infections are occurring in people's homes, particularly if you have people getting together," DeSantis said, referring to contract-tracing data released Friday by New York State, which reported that restaurants and bars account for just 1.43 percent of recent known COVID-19 exposures. "Closing a restaurant to indoor dining is going to lead to more people doing that in private homes anyways."

Still, even if restaurants in your state may be open (fully, or even with outdoor dining set up and capacity limits in place), that doesn't necessarily mean you should take advantage of it. Places with buffets open, no visible ventilation inside and not much ventilation outside, and no windows open are ones to order takeout from and eat at home.

Unlike Florida, other states have modified their restaurant restrictions recently because the number of cases across the country keeps going up. New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo suspended indoor dining in New York City on Monday. Bars and eateries in Baltimore, Md. are now closed from indoor and outdoor dining, Pennsylvania diners can only eat outside, Washington diners can only eat in outside in groups of five or fewer people, and more. Dr. Fauci also doesn't think normal dining will resume for a while.

If you're missing your favorite restaurant meal, stay safe at home and whip up one of the 50 Classic American Dinner Recipes We Never Eat Anymore.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more