CDC report finds adults with COVID-19 'twice as likely' to report dining at restaurants before falling ill

A new report from the CDC is getting backlash from the restaurant industry.

The study shows adults with COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant in the two weeks prior to feeling symptoms.

Some in the restaurant industry people call it 'unfair'.

The sample size of this survey was a little over 300 people from 11 healthcare facilities from 10 states.  Some in the restaurant industry said  more research was needed to complete this study and they fear the findings will hurt businesses."

"I don't understand why this report was written or released," Karen Bremer, the CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association, said.

The 314 participants all reported symptoms early in the study.

However, only 154 tested positive.

We talked with Bremer about the organization's frustrations.

"I think that if the study had been done using a much larger sampling of the United States before they release this information."

The CDC report said participants were asked about wearing a mask and possible community exposure activities like going to the gym, the salon, shopping, or to a bar or coffee shop.

Researchers said the only significant difference in activities was eating out.

Those who tested positive, the study notes, were more likely to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days prior to showing symptoms.

"We follow the food, safety and sanitation guidelines set forth by the CDC, the FDA, the Georgia Department of Public Health.”

The CDC report acknowledges that masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking whereas other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.

Geoffrey Kibakaya told me he isn't surprised by the research.

"I feel like the study has, yeah, some truth to it," he explained as we talked in Toco Hills.

He admitted the findings won’t stop him from enjoying a nice a meal

"I feel like if you leave your house then you could get it. If you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned," Kibakaya said.

With many restaurants still recovering from the pandemic, GRA said this study is punishing businesses with data that’s not based in science.

"Everyday I talk to people, grown men, that are crying, that are losing their business. People that have invested their life savings," Bremer said.

If you are unsure about dining in, she said continue to support your local businesses by doing curbside or takeout services.

The report’s authors admit it may not represent the entire United States population.