It’s that time of year. Temperatures reaching the one-teens, but that hasn’t stopped diners from heading out to eat on El Paseo.
Misters and fans are helping to keep restaurant-goers cool since outdoor seating is all that’s available due to the pandemic. The question is… are they safe from further spreading the virus.
“We do believe that being in outdoor spaces is much safer than being in enclosed or indoor spaces, probably at least 10 or 100 times safer,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Ambulatory Medical Director & Physician, RUHS Public Health.
With desert summer in full swing and restaurants restricted to outdoor-only seating, fans and misters are a must, but are they safe...
According to Bryan Roe, President of Koolfog, the answer is yes. He says misters can even potentially purify the air of COVID particles, if there are any.
“All the research that the CDC has on respiratory droplets and research that’s already out there on dust control and particulate control using fogging, we just kind of pulled that together to make those correlations, so there’s not studies specifically about misting, but the bottom line is it’s not going to make it worse, it’ll definitely have a chance of making it better,” said Roe.
The conclusion of his research shows that the water from misters combines with respiratory droplets.
“When it combines, it makes those larger and therefore it’ll fall a lot quicker,” Roe said.
Dr. Leung of Riverside County Health says that larger droplets do not pose a great risk, as long as surfaces are being disinfected properly. However he says there is not an exact calculation of the risk factors of fans and misters when it comes to spreading the virus.
“We do not suspect that misters carry infection, we wouldn’t expect it to sort of push out infection, but any time you have flow of air, or particles, if you happen to be downstream from that, there is a chance that you could have those particles blown in your space,” Dr. Leung said.
While takeout poses the lowest risk, Dr. Leung says that if you do decide to dine out try to keep your mask on until you’re ready to actually eat or drink, socially distance as much as possible, and stick to smaller and more stable groups, such as those you live with.
Both the CDC and the World Health Organization have reported that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through water.