What's The Risk Of Getting COVID-19 From Being On My Patio?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 11:49 AM, May 05, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Anne Cohen emailed us asking:

"I have a preexisting respiratory condition made worse if I keep all of the windows closed. Can I sit outside on my balcony? What's the risk?"

We asked the experts: Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, an infectious disease physician and chief medical officer for Northwestern Medicine's northwest region; Katie Cary, Vice President of Infection Prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine.

Their take: contracting COVID-19 from being outside on a balcony is low risk. 

"Fresh air is fine. I mean, as long as you have the social distancing and you're not in the crowd. I think it's a great idea, especially now that the weather is starting to get a little bit better, to get out, get some fresh air. That's probably a nice thing to do," Hafiz said.

"What's important is if you have a balcony that is very close, in close proximity to another balcony, that you're still maintaining that social distancing," Cary said.

"Please feel free to do so. The virus is going to be spread by droplets from people who are close to you. And so if you're alone on your balcony, there's not a risk for you to develop COVID-19," Marcelin said. 

If you have a question about your risk, send a video question to