By Raetta Holdman

DENVER (CBS4) – With more counties moving to the red level on the state’s COVID dial, more restaurants are moving to outdoor dining. Many restaurants are getting creative to find ways to offer outdoor dining as the weather gets colder, but are those tents and other enclosed outdoor spaces safer than eating inside?

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CBSN Denver‘s Makenzie O’Keefe posed that question to CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida.

“What you’re looking for is a place that has at least two open sides because you need adequate ventilation,” he said. “Ventilation is huge when it comes to the spread of the virus.”

“That’s particularly true in a dining setting. You need to make sure that there’s adequate spacing between people and not a lot of movement between tables.”

“Recognize the fact that nobody’s going to be wearing a mask because they’re eating, so it’s a very tough environment.”

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Hnida also addressed the dining bubbles and self-contained igloos that are popping up, calling them great ideas.

“There are a couple of things to consider here if you’re going into one of those very small structures. It needs to be members of your own household and your own household only.”

He also said it is is important to make sure there is adequate time, at least 15 minutes, between parties to make sure the area is aired out.

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“We can hope for a good dining experience as we go through the winter,” Hnida said, “but by no means can you say it’s a risk-free situation by simply being outside.”

Raetta Holdman