SAN ANTONIO – In the COVID-19 era, heading to the bar is just as risky for contracting the virus as attending church, according to medical experts.
The Texas Medical Association has released a COVID-19 risk chart to give guidance on which establishments, events and spaces are considered low, medium and high risk for contracting the virus.
The list, which ranks activities on a scale of 1-10, was created from physicians on the association’s COVID-19 task force and the association’s committee on infectious diseases.
It ranks bars, religious services, large concerts, movie theaters, gyms and amusement parks as the places with the highest risk of getting infected.
Those establishments, with the exception of bars, are allowed to stay open in Texas despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott forced bars and similar establishments to close on June 26, but they are able to stay open for delivery and takeout.
Under Abbott’s reopening orders, fine arts performance halls, amusement parks, movie theaters and gyms can operate at up to 50% capacity.
At those establishments, face coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained.
The Texas Medical Association states to “assume that participants in these activities are following currently recommended safety protocols when possible.”
Activities with low-moderate risks include ordering takeout from restaurants, going camping, shopping for groceries, walking in a busy downtown, having dinner at another person’s home and shopping at malls.
Abbott and local officials have taken a tougher stance on social distancing in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.
As a result, Abbott has issued a mandate that forces Texans in counties with 20 or more cases to wear face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible. The governor has also given mayors and county judges authority to restrict some outdoor gathering of more than 10 people.
Texas has recorded 200,557 virus cases and 2,655 deaths as of Monday.