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5 Places You Shouldn't Go Even if They're Open, According to a Doctor

Use caution before entering bars, fitness classes and movie theaters.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
woman in protective mask opens the door

Over the last few months, our lives have been completely changed. From having to visit family over teleconference, and even attend school from home, daily routines are barely recognizable.  As society attempts to return to normalcy, it is difficult to know which public places are safe, and what areas of life will still have moderate risk until the majority of the population is vaccinated. As an emergency physician, I am asked by patients regularly what I think is safe for them to do, and what areas they should still avoid until we are past the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to see what I say, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

1

Bars

Bartender serves a fresh beer in a pub
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From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, bars have been a source of anxiety for public health officials. Unlike restaurants where the interaction between patrons can be minimized, bars continue to be a source of easy transmission. People congregate in large numbers and are very often taking off their masks. The volume of speaking is also much greater in a bar environment which will increase the likelihood of particles being transmitted further distances.

2

Group Fitness Classes

group of women doing stretching exercises before intensive workout in spacious fitness studio
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Until COVID-19 is under control, and most of the population has the vaccine, the risk of being in a small confined area of people actively working, continues to be moderately high risk for transmission. Sharing small volume of space with multiple people could certainly increase the risk for transmission.

3

Indoor Concert Venues

woman silhouette in a crowd at a concert in a vintage light, noise added
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Due in part to the volume of speaking of the attendees, as well as the number of people within the venue, the risk for COVID-19 transmission is concerning. Although masks most likely minimize most of the transmission of Covid-19, the risk within a concert venue is certainly not minimal. 

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

4

Buffets

variety food buffet
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Restaurants have increased safety precautions with possible outdoor eating options and minimizing the interaction of patrons.  Even within all the safety options, buffets are still going to be higher risk.  People are going to be closer to each other at the buffet line, and possibly not wearing masks. This is even without the risk of transmission from the food itself, but more due to the close contact with people.

5

Movie Theaters

People in cinema with protection mask keeping distance away to avoid physical contact
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The number of people watching a movie with you is going to be the main concern when inside a movie theater.  If a movie theater has appropriate separation between even other parties, the risk is still probably low, but for a new release, where the theater is filled, the risk continues to be too high.  

6

Final Words of Advice From the Doctor

Female Wearing Face Mask and Social Distancing
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With the COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, a return to normal life seems more possible now than in the past year. Even with this sense of normalcy, there is still a risk of transmission of COVID-19 within our communities. If you are living in an area with a very high concentration of COVID-19 cases, public places are going to be much higher risk especially those that put many people around each other possibly not with masks. Remember to wear your mask and minimize contact with other people especially if they do not have a mask. And to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Kenneth Perry, MD FACEP
Dr. Perry is an active practicing physician and Medical Director of an Emergency Department in Charleston, South Carolina. Read more