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37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus

From pumping gas to prayer, experts have ranked every activity by your risk of coronavirus exposure.
Woman Traveling with Plane with a Mask on For Contagious Disease

Your local restaurant, health club, park, or beach may be open, but coronavirus cases are surging around the country. Most of the U.S. wants to know: What activities are safe, and which should be avoided? Last week, a team of doctors from the Texas Medical Association ranked nearly every activity—from opening your mail to going to a bar—by their risk level. Keep in mind that the levels are based on input from the physician members of the task force and the committee, under the assumption that—no matter the activity—participants were taking maxim safety precautions, including social distancing, wearing a mask, and practicing hand hygiene, even if they were partying at a bar. Read on to discover the riskiness of every activity, ranked from least (risk level 1) to most (risk level 9) dangerous. 

1

Opening the Mail

Young woman putting letter into envelope at table in cafe. Mail delivery
Shuttterstock

Risk Level: 1

Early on in the pandemic, people were concerned about contracting COVID-19 via opening mail or delivery boxes. However, according to doctors from the Texas Medical Association, there is a very low risk.

2

Getting Restaurant Takeout

delivery boy
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 2

If there was ever a time to enjoy meals in the comfort of your own home, it is now. Delivery or takeout from a restaurant is a great way to not only support your local economy, but to keep yourself protected from the virus. According to the experts, the risk level is just 2. 

3

Pumping Gasoline

man pumping gas into car
Maridav/Shutterstock

Risk Level: 2

Pumping gas shouldn't be a huge concern during the pandemic. Since gas pumps are outside and situated more than six feet apart, the risk level is just at a 2. However, make sure to still wear a mask and use sanitizer after touching the pump just to be safe. 

4

Playing Tennis

woman playing tennis on court
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 2

According to the experts, if you want to engage in group exercise, a match of tennis is your best bet. Due to the fact that tennis is played outdoors and each player has their own side of the court, social distancing is a breeze. 

5

Going Camping

campground
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 2

Many of us are experiencing the travel bug, as we have spent the majority of 2020 on our home turf. If you feel the need to get out of town, experts maintain that camping is the safest way to do it. Why? You bring your own equipment and food, spend most of your time outdoors, and will likely keep exposure to others at a minimum. 

6

Grocery Shopping

Woman shopping at supermarket
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 3

Going to gather food is one of the more essential tasks in life, but is considered a moderate-low risk by experts. Why? Grocery shopping is conducted in an indoor environment shared by multiple people at once. Obviously, ordering your groceries online is a safer option. However, if you do choose to go to the store, make sure you are taking all precautionary measures.

7

Going for a Walk, Run, or Bike Ride With Others

Man runner wearing medical mask
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 3

Exercising with friends, whether going for a walk, hike, run, or bike ride is considered a moderate-low risk. While you are outdoors, keep in mind that you have the potential to sweat—and if you are too close to others you may be at risk of spreading respiratory droplets. 

8

Playing Golf

Smiling man man in cap and sunglasses playing golf
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 3

Golf is a relatively safe sport during the pandemic, according to experts. While it takes place outdoors, there is the potential for spread if you share a golf cart with your companions or even a golf club. 

9

Staying at a Hotel for Two Nights

Opened door of hotel room with key in the lock
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

Just how risky is checking into a hotel? While that entirely depends on the precautionary measure the establishment is taking, experts maintain it is a moderate-low risk with a 4/10 danger. To make sure you are minimizing exposure, do your research ahead of time and make sure the hotel is invested in mitigating exposure. Many hotels are offering virtual check-ins, have closed common spaces, and have extra diligent sanitation methods in place to ensure the health of their customers. 

10

Sitting in a Doctor's Waiting Room

elderly man sitting at the doctor's office in a hospital with respirator and using his smart phone
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

Unless you have to sit in a doctor's waiting room, you probably shouldn't. According to experts, there is a moderate-low risk involved—which can vary drastically in regards to the type of doctor's office you are sitting in. This is why many medical establishments are avoiding the waiting room altogether, asking patients to wait in their cars until their appointment time. Talk to your medical practitioner and find out what they are doing to protect patients from unnecessary exposure. 

11

Going to a Library or Museum

Laptop and book lying on a desk in classic library
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

While going to a library or museum isn't the riskiest thing you can do, you might want to avoid these indoor spaces with common areas. They aren't essential and they happen to be a moderate-low risk. 

12

Eating in a Restaurant Outside

Happy waiter wearing protective face mask while showing menu on digital tablet to female guest in a cafe.
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

Aside from getting takeout, dining al fresco at a restaurant is your safest option. Just keep in mind that tables should be spaced 6-feet apart. Also, if you are dining with others who don't live in the same home, you are now part of their bubble. 

13

Walking in a Busy Downtown

young woman wearing a hygiene protective mask over her face while walking at the crowded place
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

Even if you are wearing a mask, walking around in a busy downtown area is a moderate-low risk for the virus. 

14

Spending an Hour at a Playground

outdoor playground
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 4

The playground may seem like a safe place to bring your children, due to the fact that it is outdoors, but keep in mind that it is actually a moderate-low risk. With so many shared spaces, people from different places, and the difficulty in maintaining social distancing, your child—and therefore your entire network—may be exposed to the virus. Also, remember that children are often asymptomatic but can still spread the virus. 

15

Having Dinner at Someone Else's House

dinner party
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 5

Having dinner at someone else's house jumps into the next risk level, moderate, according to experts who gave it a 5 out of 10 risk rating. Why? Not only is social distancing difficult, but consider all the shared surfaces and spaces—and the likelihood that you won't be wearing a mask as you drink and dine. 

16

Attending a Backyard Barbecue

man barbecuing for family
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 5

Grilling with friends and family may seem safe since it takes place outdoors, but experts maintain it is moderately risky. Again, it is difficult to stay six feet apart when you are dining and drinking with friends and family. 

17

Going to a Beach

Soft wave of blue ocean on sandy beach
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 5

If you have seen all of the photos and videos of packed beaches around the country, it should come as zero surprise that spending a day at the beach is considered a moderately risky activity. 

18

Shopping at a Mall

woman with phone bright pink shopping Mall coat with black protective mask on her face from virus infected air. concept of virus protection in the fashion, beauty, and shopping industries
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 5

Your local mall has reopened, but should you shop until you drop? Probably not. Due to the indoor nature of a shopping mall—including ventilation—they have been dubbed a moderate risk by experts. 

19

Sending Kids to School, Camp, or Day Care

Mother puts a safety mask on her son's face.
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 6

Even more risky—with a 6 out of 10 risk factor—is sending children to school, camp, or day care. This is obviously a huge concern right now, as schools across the country are devising their educational strategy for the 2020-2021 academic year. While risk factors can vary by age group, the fact that children are often asymptomatic spreaders, there are many shared surfaces, and there is great difficulty in educating students while maintaining social distancing, all add up to a moderately risky situation. 

20

Working a Week in an Office Building

Two people in office passing documents with keeping a distance
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 6

You should probably stay out of your office for the time being. According to experts, working a week in an office building is a moderately risky situation. 

21

Swimming in a Public Pool

man swimming
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 6

Public pools may be open in your area, but you are better off at the beach! Swimming in a pool with people who don't live in your home is moderately risky according to experts. 

22

Visiting an Elderly Relative or Friend in Their Home

A mature man following the social distancing mandate issued due to COVID19 by not entering the home of his high risk elderly mother that he wants to check on.
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 6

The final moderately risky activity? Visiting an older relative or friend in their home. Even though the risk factor is 6 out of 10, experts have been discouraging exposure to the higher risk population—elderly included—since the beginning of the pandemic. 

23

Going to a Hair Salon or Barbershop

Senior woman and daughter with face masks having coffee with safety distance
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

You might be dying to get your hair cut or colored, but the risk is moderately high, according to experts—even if both parties are wearing masks. A safer option is having someone come to your home to cut your hair, having them perform the service outdoors. 

24

Eating in a Restaurant Inside

busy restaurant
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

Due to the nature of airflow in restaurants, eating indoors is a moderately high coronavirus risk. Many popular restaurants have been tied to coronavirus outbreaks across the country. If you feel like dining out, try to make sure the establishment offers outdoor seating, which will reduce your risk. 

25

Attending a Wedding or Funeral

A grandfather having a conversation with his grandson at a party
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

Weddings and funerals—both of which involve gatherings of large groups of people who don't live together—pose a moderately high coronavirus risk, per experts. 

26

Traveling by Plane

Woman Traveling with Plane with a Mask on For Contagious Disease
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

To travel by airplane or not? Only you can decide, however, air travel poses a moderately high risk of exposure to the virus. Shared surfaces, close quarters, and being in the same space as so many other people from across the world are just a few of the ingredients that could pose an infection risk. 

27

Playing Basketball

Friends playing basketball - Afro-american players having a friendly match outdoors
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

Even if you are playing basketball outdoors, it involves a pretty big group of people and one main shared surface—the basketball. Early on in the pandemic, the virus made its way through the NBA, establishing the sport as moderately risky. 

28

Playing Football

Men playing football.
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

Football, another group sport, is just as risky as basketball, according to the experts. 

29

Hugging or Shaking Hands When Greeting a Friend

people shaking hands at office
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 7

Early on in the pandemic, health experts discouraged hugging or shaking hands when greeting others as the virus can easily be spread this way. Luckily there are other ways to greet people that don't involve direct contact. 

30

Eating at a Buffet

variety food buffet
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 8

Don't even think about dining at a buffet anytime soon. Even before the coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan, China, buffets were considered a health risk. So, it should come as zero surprise that during the pandemic, they are considered high risk.

31

Working out at a Gym

Shutterstock

Risk Level: 8

While many people have returned back to their gym or health club, experts maintain that doing so puts you at a high risk, to the tune of an 8 out of 10 risk factor. 

32

Going to an Amusement Park

Amusement Park Ride
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 8

You might want to put off that trip to Disney World until next year. Experts maintain that amusement parks are high risk for coronavirus spread. 

33

Going to a Movie Theater

people eating popcorn in movie theater, focus on hands
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 8

Going to the movie theater is one of America's favorite pastimes. However, experts claim it is nearly impossible to avoid high risk exposure in theaters. This is mostly due to the smaller, confined spaces, airflow, and shared surfaces. 

34

Attending a Large Music Concert

Girl enjoying the outdoor music festival concert. -
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 9

The majority of music festivals, concerts, and other live performances have been canceled this summer—and for a good reason. Experts claim that attending a large music concert—where social distancing is virtually impossible—is one of the riskiest activities of all. 

35

Going to a Sports Stadium

Risk Level: 9

Similar to attending a large music concert, attending a sporting event in a large stadium or arena, is a high risk activity with a 9 out of 10 risk rating. For this reason, most spectator sports are not allowing fans—even if the game must go on. 

36

Attending a Religious Service With More Than 500 Worshippers

Young woman is worshipping at a service in a church
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 9

Packed houses of worship with people from all over singing and loudly talking are a recipe for coronavirus disaster. Several large outbreaks of COVID-19 have been linked to religious gatherings, so it should come as zero surprise that worshipping in a large, group setting is incredibly risky. 

37

Going to a Bar

large group bar
Shutterstock

Risk Level: 9

In recent weeks an overwhelming number of outbreaks have been linked to bars across the country. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious expert, recently warned that they are the worst place you can congregate during the pandemic. "Congregation at a bar inside is bad news," he stated during a coronavirus press conference last week. "We really got to stop that. Right now."

To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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