What's The Risk Of Getting The Coronavirus From A Coffee Shop?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 24, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Yanina Kupava asks: 

"You get a coffee to go and the barista puts a lid on it with a gloved or ungloved hand. What’s the risk?"

We asked the experts. Their take — contracting COVID-19 from a to-go coffee cup is high risk. 

"There's definitely a risk, and then it's going on your hands, and I don't even ... I hate to say this, but I don't like the idea of people going to coffee shops right now. I would order a thermos online and if you're essential and you have to go into work, I would take my own thermos of coffee with me and make it at home," said Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group.

"Hopefully the barista touching the coffee is not the same person operating the money and the cash, you know, the cash exchange. If they are, make sure they're changing those gloves and don't let them move between that and going back to serving the coffee, because that's a big risk of potential contamination," said Jason Farley, infectious diseases nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"Hopefully, their hands are clean, and then, you know, anything again that you touch, wash your hands before you eat or drink," Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division, told Newsy.