Regarding "County to remain at extreme risk for virus" (The Astorian, Jan. 28): This article repeats, in detail, the plea made by Clatsop County business people and politicians for decreased restrictions on indoor dining and drinking. They say they have not seen any scientific evidence that indoor dining and drinking contributes to the spread of COVID-19.
One major risk factor is inadequate ventilation. We don't keep all the doors and windows open in the winter. Very small droplets can accumulate in a closed area, like smoke. They can travel further than 6 feet away.
There have been superspreader events documented of one person in a restaurant infecting multiple people downwind of them. I doubt many local venues have the specialized ventilation systems required to prevent this.
They claim there's no difference between indoor dining and drinking, and the usage of indoor lottery terminals, which is allowed. But there is a difference: You can wear a mask while operating a machine; you can’t while eating and drinking.
Another risky activity associated with dining out is talking. Talking generates smaller droplets, especially talking loudly, which people tend to do when dining out — especially when drinking. This gets back to the ventilation issue. Those who work in these venues are constantly exposed to these risks.
There is so much scientific evidence for an increased risk with indoor dining that I can't list it all in the space allowed here. If county business people and politicians haven't seen it, they haven't been looking.