SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- In the latest weekly data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new findings show a relationship between people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus and on-site eating and drinking.

Specifically, the report found adults with positive test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining in a restaurant than those with negative test results.

A recent report from the CDC looks at close contact exposures within the community that contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

"Any time you get a group of people together, especially if they’re not following mask guidelines and social distancing. You’re going to see more cases," said Dr. Jonathan Bayuk with Allergy and Immunology Associates of New England.

Massachusetts was a participating state with patients sampled from both Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston. The investigation also looked into nine other healthcare facilities across the U.S. and positive versus negative cases...

The results, those with positive test results were dining at restaurants more frequently.

"You’re in a place with a bunch of people, a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, you’re going to expect a lot more infection," Bayuk said.

In response, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) points out the study fails to distinguish the types of venues, which could have different atmospheres contributing to the spread, like whether participants dined indoors or outdoors.

The study also doesn't show a direct correlation that the cases themselves are coming from restaurants, something Bayuk said is tough to do.

"Most of the time, it’s very difficult to find out where somebody got it," Bayuk noted.

This is as many restaurants continue to struggle. John Thomas, the managing partner for Max's Tavern, said they're following every precaution put out by the CDC.

"Everything that comes out, impacts the decision on whether guests are going to come out or not, but we have to do something," he said. "There's no way we can just sit at home and stand in place for that long."

The CDC's conclusion following the investigation, saying quote:

"Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-COV-2 infection. Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities."

Max's Tavern ensures guests are distanced, and protocols are being followed

"I’ve been trying to exceed every guidance that we can to make sure it’s safe for our guests and our employees," Thomas said.

Bayuk told us in his experience, the restaurants have been doing a great job.

"I don’t think people should necessarily not go to restaurants anymore than they would before this type of information," Bayuk added.

So moral of the story, practice social distancing if you go to a restaurant wearing your mask, sanitize, and make sure those around you and the place you are dining at are doing the same.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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