In the context of disparate decisions across the country, heterogenous state and local policies, and little national guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we set out to better understand decisions around re-opening indoor dining and in-person learning. We reviewed indoor dining and in-person elementary school policy decisions in the fall and winter of 2020 across 30 of the largest cities in the US. In this blog post, we summarize our findings from our article recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health`.
Since March, state and local governments have had to make challenging decisions to determine which services are essential, when to reopen certain sectors of the community, and to ensure that precautions are taken for the safety of their residents. These decisions have had to balance several aspects, including protecting public health and maintaining economy activity. With many food establishments forced to shutter or transition to takeout only service, the pandemic has led to widespread job loss and economic hardship in the restaurant industry.