Dr. Fauci Just Said When It'll Be Safe to Dine Indoors Like Normal Again

This is when eating inside a restaurant will be "close to normal," he says.

As we enter the second year of the COVID pandemic, there's one question on everyone's mind: When will things finally go back to normal again?

Thankfully, Anthony Fauci, MD, chief COVID adviser to President Joe Biden, has an answer. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Fauci shared his updated timeline for when we might expect to return to our normal activities. Read on to learn about the new timeline, and for more pearls of wisdom from the famed doctor, Dr. Fauci Says Doing This After Getting Vaccinated Is a Huge Mistake.

According to Fauci, the answer to this particular question is complicated because normalcy is subjective. "[It] depends on what you mean by 'normal,'" Fauci told host Andrea Mitchell. "Obviously, we have very stringent public health measures in tune now. If you're going to ask—what about getting back to a situation where… restaurants, indoor dining can be happening, but with moderately diminished capacity? That's going to be somewhere between the fall and the end of the year," Fauci explained.

The doctor then elaborated, giving a second assessment for those with a higher standard for what constitutes "normal."

"If you say, 'No, no, no, wait a minute. I really want to know when it's going to get to as close to normal that you almost don't know the difference between what it was before, maybe you're going to still have to wear masks.' That likely will be, as the president said, by the end of the year, by Christmas," Fauci said, referring to Biden's statements on the matter, made during Tuesday's Town Hall.

However, both Fauci and White House representatives acknowledge that the timeline is rife with uncertainty due to new virus variants, and the complicated logistics of the vaccine rollout. "There's a lot we don't know about the future," Andy Slavit, White House COVID advisor said during a Feb. 18 interview with The Washington Post. "We are trying not to give a false sense of security or a false sense of precision when none exists. And I know that makes people less comfortable, but I also know people want to be leveled with and they want to be told the truth."

Wondering what you can do to help speed things along? Read on for four tips from Fauci on how we can expedite our return to normal life, and for more predictions from the esteemed medical expert, Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is When Life Will Return to "What It Was Before."

Get vaccinated as soon as you can.

Man receives the COVID vaccine in a doctor's office at the hospital.
Ika84 / iStock

As Fauci points out, our best tool against the emergence of new COVID variants is a robust vaccination program, which will limit the chances the virus has to spread and further mutate. That's why you should get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available to you as soon as you are eligible, Fauci has said.

"If you can suppress [variants] by a very good vaccine campaign, then you could actually avoid this deleterious effect that you might get from the mutations," he said in a recent interview with The New York Times. And for the latest COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Wear an upgraded mask.

During a pandemic, a mid adult woman protects herself by placing an N95 face mask over her nose and mouth. She is standing outdoors.

Fauci and other health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), say you should choose a mask with "better fit or filtration"—or even two masks at once—when seeing people outside of your home.

"There's nothing wrong with people wearing two masks," Fauci said at a press briefing, adding that he believes double masking to be a "common sense approach" that improves efficacy. "I often myself wear two masks," he added. And for more essential mask news, If You Wear Your Mask Like This, You're Not Getting "Maximal Protection."

Avoid communal indoor spaces for now.

women eating in crowded reataurant
Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

As enticing as it would be to visit a bar or restaurant as though things are normal, Fauci says that the choices we make now will dictate how soon we return to true normalcy months from now. For that reason, ordering takeout rather than sitting in a restaurant is a simple way to avoid needless risk.

However, if you do plan to go to a restaurant, Fauci says you should choose one that takes COVID precautions seriously. "If you do indoor dining, you do it in a spaced way where you don't have people sitting right next to each other," Fauci told CNN's Don Lemon. "Outdoor is always better than indoor if you want to do any kind of a function," Fauci added.

Practice social distancing.

Woman and child social distancing

Fauci has predicted that we will need to continue social distancing measures at least through the end of 2021. By maintaining a distance of six feet apart, we can stop the majority of the respiratory droplets traveling between people and causing infection.

However, there may be good news on the horizon for those who become fully vaccinated. After two recent studies presented evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may prevent viral transmission, not just COVID symptoms, Fauci suggested that we may soon see revised social distancing guidelines for vaccinated individuals. And for more important tips from Fauci, Dr. Fauci Just Warned of "The Danger" With This Kind of Vaccination.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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