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Coronavirus I Ventilation, the danger of covered terraces of bars and restaurants

The disease of coronavirus continues to advance in Spain and the second wave of infections continues to leave devastating data day after day. Specifically, in our country, official data leave figures of 1,525,341 infections Y 42,039 deaths since the beginning of the health crisis.

The restrictions to avoid new infections continue and In the hotel and catering establishments, according to the Autonomous Community, between 50% and 30% of the capacity in the interior rooms continues to be maintained. On terraces, the number of people allowed is between 60% and 75% with the safety distance established by authorities between tables. In addition, bar consumption is prohibited.

Temperature change

The situation, together with the arrival of cold and rain, causes users to be uncomfortable on the terraces of bars and restaurants, since the weather is not good. It is because of that It has been decided to implement the ‘false terraces’, that is, those that are glazed or laminated to face bad weather.

This is a good way for users to continue going to the premises and helping the hospitality industry to come out of the crisis generated by the coronavirus. In addition, they are still in outdoor spaces, where there is less probability of contagion due to greater ventilation with the outside air.

Maximum three sides closed

But, a problem arises, and it is that These permanent places can close a maximum of two or three sides, otherwise it would become a closed place. If this happens, they will be considered closed places and the security restrictions established for the interiors of the premises will take effect. For example, you couldn’t smoke.

“Completely closing the terraces is like being indoors, this year you have to be cold, be outdoors and put on a coat”, has pointed out the air quality expert Xavier Querol, researcher of Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA-CSIC), in statements collected by NIUS.

Risk is lower, but ventilation is important

“If the rule is that only three sides can be closed, not everything is valid. A terrace closed from floor to ceiling on three sides and with many people inside implies a great risk of contagion. As always, if there is hand hygiene, a safe distance, the place is well ventilated, people wear masks and there is separation between the tables, the risk is much lower “, adds the expert.

If there is no ventilation it is useless. Anything that is taking actions from the outside to the inside in terms of aerosols is concerned, is counterproductive “, Querol explains.

“If you are going to go to a covered terrace for more than an hour, it is recommended that you keep wearing the mask when you are not drinking or eating. Putting on a mask to speak reduces the risk of contagion “, he concludes for NIUS.

Ildefonso Hernandez, spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Public Health, matches Querol: If it is fixed, it is a mistake. Because the terrace would be the same as a closed place and therefore you would have to take the same measures as if it were an interior. The more the air runs, the better. Another thing is that a terrace is partially closed to allow some comfort when it is cold. In short, closing a terrace only makes sense if it is very partial and does not prevent aeration “, Explain.

No smoking

Paulino Pastor, president of the Federation of Indoor Air Quality Companies (FEDECAI) has also spoken with NIUS about the possibility of closed terraces: “From my point of view, of course, on these closed or semi-closed terraces smoking should not be allowed. When a person exhales cigarette smoke, the air that enters the lungs is no longer clean, it is air with a very high concentration of particles and if that person has coronavirus, the air that they release can carry the virus more likely than a air that comes out of a clean lung of a person who is not smoking. And the most important thing is that the air that comes out is hot and that makes it stay in suspension for longer, which increases the risk of contagion “, it is finished.