Is it safe to eat outside with friends? 

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is it safe to eat outside with friends?” and precautions or tips to be taken while eating out with friends.

Is it safe to eat out with friends?

Yes, it is safe to eat out with friends but it is necessary to take essential precautions while eating out.

CDC has not clearly stated whether eating out can be risky. A chart was developed by Professor Saskia Popescu an epidemiologist, Dr. James P. Phillips, MD, and Ezekiel Immanuel to analyze the risk levels of both outdoor and indoor activities.

It is essential to understand that 4 factors determine the risk factors. These are as follows:

  • Enclosed space
  • The time that has been taken for interaction
  • Forceful exhalation which includes coughing, yelling, or sneezing
  • Crowds
RiskType of activity
Very Low riskSitting indoors with family, Running or cycling with one or two people, Walking with dogs, Outdoor picnic (involving physical distancing)
Low riskPlaying sports (with social distancing), Shopping (in less crowded places and physical distancing), Retail shopping.
Moderate riskMedical appointment, restaurant dining, and sharing a taxi, visiting a museum. 
High riskVisiting a barber or salon shop, visiting a coffee shop or restaurant indoors, hanging out in a gym
Very high riskIndoor party, contact sports, visiting clubs or bars, using public transport, watching a movie in theaters, watching a concert, watching sports in stadiums, attending religious activities

It would be better to plan your activities with friends based on the risk level stated in the chart. It is also vital to see whether you live in a high-risk area containing a high number of Covid cases. 

What are some tips to keep in mind while going outdoors with friends?

  • It is vital to maintain at least a 1 meter distance from the other person while you are outdoors. This could be if you are queuing at a restaurant.
  • If you are planning to sit indoors in a restaurant, sit opposite your friends so that the distance is maintained.
  • Avoid hugging or touching your friends excessively. It is vital to maintain a distance for your safety.
  • If you are planning to dine in restaurants, choose the ones that are quieter and have lesser crowds. Also, opt for restaurants wherein the staffs wear face masks and follow necessary Covid-19 protocols.
  • If you are planning to shop with your friends, avoid touching surfaces or any other areas like door handles. If you have touched such areas, sanitize your hands immediately.
  • Avoid visiting high-risk areas like movie theaters, stadiums, or bars with your friends. This is because these areas would contain a high density of people which would make it easier for infection to spread.

Areas like stadiums would have individuals shouting which can lead to the release of droplets as well. If the stadium is an enclosed area, the risk of the infection spreading would be higher.

  • You can opt for an outdoor picnic or porch dining with your friends as the risk is minimal too.
  • If you are dining at a restaurant, it is better to wash your hands while consuming food. Even though the virus does not spread through food and there is a lower chance of it spreading through food containers, it is better to be safe.
  • Sanitize your hands after touching menus or condiments at a restaurant.
  • If the restaurants have tables too close to each other, it is better to avoid dining there. Also, avoid removing your mask unless you are eating.
  • It is also essential to take into account your age and medical conditions. If you are over the age of 65 and are suffering from diseases like diabetes or hypertension, you have to be extra careful. 

Sanitize your hands regularly, maintain social distancing, and wear face masks all the time. Look out for your friends if they are above the age of 65 as well.

  • If you are planning to dine with your friends, try to hang out with 1-3 people and not more than that.

Other FAQs on eating out that you might be interested in.

What about the air quality of the restaurant?

The air conditioning or the heating system of the restaurant matters. If the ventilation of the restaurant is not good, the infection can spread easily. Avoid dining in enclosed spaces as well.

It is difficult to look at the ventilation of the restaurant. Instead, opt to dine in restaurants that have a lot of open windows.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is it safe to eat outside with friends?” and precautions or tips to be taken while eating out with friends.


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