Gyms vs coffee shops: Not all businesses are equally risky to reopen

As local governments and business owners struggle with decisions about when to reopen post-pandemic, a multitude of factors must be weighed. These variables include the size of the enclosed space, how dense with customers it becomes, how long those folks linger, and what they touch (for example, fast-food restaurants host greater volumes of customers with high turnover, while sit-down establishments tend to have longer visits). Businesses that require close proximity to staff, such as nail salons, are by nature “super-spreaders,” making them more privy to contagion than, say, a gym. Along with using models presented by epidemiologists to assess openings and value to the local economy, this New York Times piece reminds us: “The ultimate health consequences of any contagion-risk measure depend on health system capacity, available treatments and disease prevalence—all of which will change over time and across areas.”

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