What's The Risk Of Dining Out After The Vaccine?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 1:23 PM, Apr 19, 2021

As more people become vaccinated, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of dining out after the vaccine?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 is medium.

"Medium-to-low-risk, especially if you're outdoors, that you can go in. The restaurant industry has really worked hard to try to make things the best and safest way within their establishment. Ensuring good, adequate ventilation, keeping their their employees masked, keeping the patrons masked, trying to make sure that there isn't these long lines of clumps of people waiting outside the door to get in, doing a lot more carry out," Dr. Frank Esper, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said.  

"In any situation where you're in close proximity, especially indoors, we don't recommend any type of large public gatherings at this point because of the risk of inadvertently spreading COVID-19 from people who are vaccinated with asymptomatic infection action, or even those who are not vaccinated who could still spread that infection throughout the crowd," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, associate medical director of infection control and epidemiology at Nebraska Medical Center, said. 

"As long as the restaurant is able to maintain distance between the tables, the servers are all masked and they have limited capacity. Yes, I think it could be done. A lot of this also depends on what the community rates are," Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and northwest region chief medical officer at  Northwestern Medicine, said. 

For more answers on what is low-, medium- or high-risk, visit