• White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci recently shared a recommendation that he thinks it would also be good for Americans to follow in order to support local businesses.
  • Even though the risk for COVID-19 is elevated when people choose to eat inside a restaurant, it’s much safer to order takeout. That’s what Dr. Fauci suggests.
  • Dr. Fauci orders takeout from local restaurants in his neighborhood regularly throughout the week to support local businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s another way to look at how devastating the coronavirus pandemic has been in the US, even apart from the public health aspect. To look at just one industry, restaurants, is to behold an immensity of financial pain. Through September, the National Restaurant Association estimates the sector has lost an estimated $240 billion in revenue — almost a quarter of a trillion dollars — and more than 100,000 restaurants and bars across the US have closed. Permanently.

The situation facing restaurants is so dire, it’s spurred White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci to recommend that Americans go out of their way to try to do something about it — and support local businesses in the process.

In a new interview with CNN, Fauci said that he makes a point of ordering takeout from local restaurants near where he and his wife Christine Grady live in Northwest Washington. They do so, in fact, multiple times a week to support local businesses who especially need the help right now.

“I feel badly about restaurants losing business,” Fauci told the news network about why he buys takeout (as opposed to sitting and eating inside a restaurant) as much as possible. “And I feel it’s almost a neighborly obligation to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat. Even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for takeout purely to support those places.”

Per the CDC, picking up food to-go from a restaurant is much safer than eating indoors with other diners — strangers whose health you can’t vouch for, even when you’re all socially distanced. Indeed, the CDC continues to note that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from takeout or drive-thru dining remains low.

“If you go indoors in a restaurant — whatever capacity, 25(%), 50%, or what have you — indoors absolutely increases the risk,” Fauci told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell back in September. “If we want to get back to the normal existence of being able to enjoy being in a restaurant, the best way to do that is to get the community level of infection at the lowest level possible.”

Fun fact — one of Dr. Fauci’s regular to-go meals? “Our favorite meal together has to be pasta,” the doctor told InStyle this summer. “Pasta, and a glass of wine.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.