Outdoor Dining In The Winter Is Complicated — Here’s What You Should Account For

Outdoor dining has been one of the most successful pandemic developments, yet one that’s been constantly challenged by the weather and the contagion levels within our communities. Dining outside isn’t as safe as many make it out to be, especially with some of the setups you see nowadays. But it remains one of the few ways that can help us feel normal during pandemic times. Here’s what you should know when dining outside: It shouldn’t be done on a whim Photo by cottonbro via Pexels Despite what restaurants would like you to believe, not all outdoor dining spaces are equal. When we’re eating, we’re exhaling and inhaling, talking and drinking, thus releasing lots of respiratory particles. There’s no masks that can protect us, putting eating and drinking high on the list of potential risk. Outdoor dining is safer than indoor dining thanks to ventilation; if you’re in an enclosed space with walls and other people, ventilation remains a concern. The safest option would be to find a restaurant with few people where there’s an umbrella and a heater…or an open tent. An enclosed outdoor space is basically just an indoor restaurant. Now, the weather Photo by Zachary DeBottis/Pexels RELATED: Should You Wear Two Face Masks? Here’s What Experts Think Make sure you know and trust the restaurant you’re going to beforehand. If there’s no heating available, you’re not going have a good time no matter what you’re wearing. If you can’t make it to the restaurant to check it out ahead of time, look on their Instagram page to familiarize yourself with the setup before you reserve a spot. Wear the right clothes Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash Sitting down…outdoors…in the winter…is no easy task. If you’re likely to get cold hands and feet, wear the right shoes, socks and gloves, since sitting down for over an hour can make for some really uncomfortable moments. Make sure to bring a beanie, a thick jacket and maybe even a blanket, even if you look a little weird. Order the right foods https://pixabay.com/photos/udon-noodles-soup-delicious-food-2234446/ RELATED: International Travel: Here’s When Experts Predict It’ll Return To Normal Eating outside in the cold means that the glass of red wine you ordered is going to be more like a cold glass of juice. Maybe now is the time to enjoy white wine or bubbles with your meal. Also, the bowl of comforting soup you ordered may sound like a winter warmer, but it’s going to more like gazpacho sooner than later, so perhaps think about ordering something that tastes great when it’s cooled down or straight up cold. Go at the right times Photo by Ella de Kross via Unsplash Lastly, you should try your best to avoid large crowds, even when the outdoor setting allows for plenty of airflow. Restaurants and bars are considered high risk areas because of the fact that people are gathered together with no face masks. The less people the better.

Weed, Booze, Sex And Other Consumer Trends Likely To Continue In 2021

By Andrew Ward The pandemic helped vice businesses surge, or at least stave off the catastrophic downturns that other markets experienced. With so many consumers staying home in accordance with social-distancing measures, they turned to new and familiar vices to cope. As a result, 2020’s market projections were thrown for a loop — setting the stage for a prosperous 2021. Cannabis, Alcohol And Sex Cannabis sales soared in 2020. According to Leafly, nationwide sales of medical and adult-use marijuana increased by 67% over 2019. That means Americans purchased $17.9 billion in cannabis products over the past calendar year. That’s $7.2 billion more than the $10.7 billion in sales from 2019! The alcoholic beverage space outperformed 2020 expectations, but still saw global figures decline. Analysis firm IWSR reported that the market declined by 8% in 2020, less than the previously projected double-digit drop. Alcohol e-commerce surged in 2020 due to lockdown measures, increasing 40% across ten countries, including the U.S., U.K, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Australia. The U.S. sexual wellness market also saw significant growth. Per Grand View Research, the sector hovered $9.1 billion in 2019. It’s projected to grow at a 5.2% compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027. The report noted that the pandemic reduced stigmas around sex acts like masturbation, prompting consumers to purchase toys to enhance sexual experiences. Sexual wellness operators expect the acceptance of sex and sexuality to continue to rise, but replicating the previous year’s performance may be difficult. Joe Vela, co-founder and CEO of sex tech brand Emojibator, says company revenue increased 83% between 2019 and 2020. He said the company is developing new products, lines and securing partnerships in an attempt to outdo itself this year. “In 2020, we saw the trends towards celebrity-endorsed sex toy brands and subscription-based social media like OnlyFans which point towards changing attitudes of sexuality,” Vela says. Photo by Basil MK via Pexels Tobacco And Gambling Tobacco figures varied. Sales have declined for years, and continue to decline, according to Reuters. Some countries, including the U.K., saw a spike in people attempted to quit smoking, and sales in South Africa declined as the government banned sales for five months. In the U.S., because people were staying home and typically spending less money on things like gasoline, they opted to buy more conventional cigarettes instead of e-cigarettes. RELATED: Marijuana Is Replacing Alcohol During The Pandemic And May Have Long Term Benefits Gambling also saw varied numbers as one or more rounds of closures affected casinos across several markets, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. After posting six months of gains, the U.S. market took a dip once again in November, with revenue declining 14.8%, or $2.92 billion, for the month. The decline attributed to a 1.1% deterioration in retail sales from the previous month and fewer weekends than in previous years. Online gambling, however, could see a spike in 2021. “With relaxed regulations in multiple states, there is potential for exponential growth across 2021 and 2022,” Lazhar Ichir, founder of gambling education platform BETANDBEAT, says. Photo by MAHDI HAJIZADEH via Unsplash Operators Project Positive Results Operators and investors appear optimistic for another successful year due to a combination of the pandemic, shifting public sentiment and possible regulatory changes. Brand investor firm Vice Ventures Founding Partner Catharine Dockery credits the shift in the market due to changing attitudes across the board, from a growing public acceptance of cannabis to increased body positivity. “That’s a big trend that will continue in 2021,” Dockery says of the shifting public views. David Farris, VP of sales and marketing for Las Vegas’ Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTCQX:PLNHF), said that cannabis has shown that industry growth is possible even during the pandemic. RELATED: COVID-19 Pandemic Is Increasing Global Demand For Marijuana Farris cited plans for a superstore expansion in Santa Ana, California. That growth comes despite COVID restrictions. “As these restrictions lift, I believe tourism and traveling will restore, and we will come back stronger than ever,” he adds. Photo by farmer images/Getty Images Psilocybin Will ‘Have A Moment’ Dockery is bullish, but warns that investing in any vice comes with regulatory risks. “It is really important to work with people who are aware of that risk,” Dockery says of potential partners and investments. In addition to the current slew of vices, Dockery is optimistic for therapeutic drugs. “Psilocybin is going to have a moment,” she says, adding that she also has high hopes for additional treatments, such as ketamine. This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

GameStop Frenzy Leads To Hilarious Memes — Here Are Our Favorites

GameStop’s unexpected rise in stock value is unprecedented, a story that’s continuing to evolve and shock anyone who’s keeping up with it (even those of us who aren’t quite sure what’s going on). It all started when a group of Reddit users decided to play the market, pushing the value of GameStop, a video game store that, like many other businesses, has been struggling to keep up with the pandemic (and the current digital gaming landscape, in general). The activity in these stocks was such that financial companies like Robinhood and Interactive Brokers got involved this morning, restricting access to GameStop stocks and causing it to plummet, prompting politicians to comment on this situation, discussing how problematic it is for institutions to regulate who can and can’t invest in stocks. Before that, though, there were many memes, touching upon the strangeness of the situation and just how freaking complicated stocks are. Here are some of our favorites: “We will let the American people know when GameStop discounts a Legend of Zelda chess set in a dented box.” https://t.co/acwzeC5fIO — Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) January 27, 2021 yea i’ve monitored the situation around gamestop many times, it was called freakin’ high school!!!!!!! https://t.co/hEEbmLk5Bm — nuanced opinion guy (@charles_kinbote) January 27, 2021 After monitoring the situation, the Biden administration has decided in lieu of $2000 checks, the American people will receive $1400 in GameStop store credit https://t.co/suRXVFHf66 — Gabe Fernandez (@thelatinochild) January 27, 2021 RELATED: Trump’s Old Tweets: Here’s Where You Can Find Them Me pretending to understand the stock market in order to partake in the GameStop memes pic.twitter.com/56bLVdALy6 — arianna (@mrtaytoofficial) January 27, 2021 prayers for girls whose boyfriends just said “should i try to short the gamestop stock” despite not knowing what a 401k is — rebecca jennings (@rebexxxxa) January 27, 2021 https://t.co/6DEs0NDXQxpic.twitter.com/n1jADliDKu — ☕️ Pumpkin Spice Lesbian 🌈 (@zenalbatross) January 27, 2021 me, reading explanations about the gamestop stock thing pic.twitter.com/Img8k98zDX — E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) January 27, 2021 Every time I open this app pic.twitter.com/TXN8lY993z — abdul ly (@lymusing) January 27, 2021 RELATED: Should You Wear Two Face Masks? Here’s What Experts Think buying stock in claire’s and limited too, who’s with me pic.twitter.com/5JS5RWDBYe — Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) January 28, 2021 AMC and GameStop right now. pic.twitter.com/RyaMWUQIfA — johnny (@justjohnny81) January 28, 2021

Should You Wear Two Face Masks? Here’s What Experts Think

As the pandemic evolves, coronavirus cases rise and new variants of the disease appear across states, a reevaluation of COVID-19 safety measures can’t hurt. While there’s not much you can do aside from maintaining social distancing guidelines and keeping up with safety measures even when exhausted by them, experts have been proposing the use of double masks. What’s the science on them? According to The New York Times, double masking is “a sensible and easy way to lower your risk, especially if circumstances require you to spend more time around others — like in a taxi, on a train or plane, or at an inauguration.” Double masking is an effective measure, especially now that we’re talking about new COVID-19 strains that are more contagious than what we’re used to. These variants latch onto cells more efficiently, making it more difficult to escape them once you come in contact with an infected person. They make it possible for you to breathe in less virus and spend less time with an infected person and still contract the disease. Photo by Vera Davidova via Unsplash Dr. Abisola Olulade told Refinery 29 she doesn’t think that double masking is as effective as wearing one very efficient mask, but she sees no risks with the practice. “If you have a face mask that’s thin, flimsy, falling apart, frayed, or if you put it up to a light and you see light coming through it, it might be helpful to wear another one on top of it,” she said. RELATED: 5 Most Common Face Mask Mistakes Now that we know more about the virus, it’s important to be diligent with our masks, understanding that the fabric used makes a significant difference when it comes to our protection. It’s not mandatory to double mask, but it is important to wear your most protective mask when you’re spending time indoors with people you don’t live with, be that at the grocery store, when riding an Uber or meeting up with close friends or family members. RELATED: What You Need To Know About Face Masks And How They Work Double masks are gaining traction among experts and people who want an edge in safety, with more and more data showing support. As long as the masks allow you to breathe comfortably and are in good shape, you’re going in the right direction. As COVID-19 cases rise and new variants appear, there’s not a thing as being “too safe.”

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Vaccinating Adults Against COVID-19 Will Take A While — Here’s What Experts Predict

Despite the COVID-19 vaccine’s availability and high degree of success, protecting people against the virus with 95% of efficiency, the shot is incredibly difficult to get. Even when people meet the prerequisites for eligibility, seniors are being asked to sign up for complicated online portals, not to mention the strict parameters dictated by states that end up disqualifying a large percentage of the population. The distribution process has been slow, falling rapidly behind initial rollout predictions. Still, in recent weeks the process has picked up speed, with 10 times more people getting vaccinated than during the first days of vaccine distribution. With additional vaccines in development, including one by Johnson & Johnson that works with only one inoculation, as the months progress and as health care workers get used to this new process, the vaccination distribution will grow more intuitive and effective. Still, we’re in for some months of wait time. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels CNN predicts if only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are in circulation and if the vaccination rate is the one that has been showing up over the past seven days, then every adult in the US should be vaccinated by summer 2022. If this process speeds up according to Biden’s plan, which plans to increase budget for hospitals and governments in order to speed the process up, the timeline shrinks a bit, with projections suggesting that every adult should be inoculated in the US by spring 2022. RELATED: Here’s Why Some States Are Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines Faster Than Others This sounds like a lot of discouraging news, especially for those of us who are uninvolved in the health care industry and don’t know how this process works. Still, it’s not all bad, especially since every adult in the U.S. doesn’t need to be vaccinated in order for things to get better and for people to be able to do more social activities. Herd immunity is expected to happen when 70% to 80% of the U.S.population is vaccinated, which could happen by the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. RELATED: COVID-19 Viral Loads Matter — Here’s What That Means Aside from that, there’s also the fact that every person who’s been inoculated is at much less risk of contracting the disease, with a very low risk of spreading the virus. These people — grandparents, seniors, front line workers and people with underlying condition — should be able to see their families again, still taking care of themselves but enjoying many of the things that the majority of the world has been deprived of for the past year. The vaccination numbers aren’t great, even when sped up. But if things continue to progress and evolve, it should be easier for people to get vaccines and for distancing measures to relax, at least in a small degree.

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