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Carry-out or drive-thru? Restaurants required to close dining rooms

Health officials say coronavirus can spread easily in places where people congregate, like restaurant dining rooms.

The Centers for Disease Control recommendations against gatherings have changed rapidly in just five days. On Thursday it was nothing larger than 500. On Sunday it was nothing larger than 50. By Monday, President Donald Trump changed the recommendation to 10.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now," Trump said, “we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”

Dr. Mark Cassanova is the President of the Dallas County Medical Society. He says the recommendations to specifically avoid restaurant dining rooms is smart public health.

RELATED: D-FW restaurants already struggling before ban on dine-in services

"It's the proximity to another individual in that droplet zone, approximately six feet. And then the surfaces the droplets would land on and have the potential to transmit the virus," Cassanova said.

Even before the president's announcement, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Taco Bell all announced a shift to drive-thru and carry-out only.

RELATED: Bars, gyms, theaters ordered to close in Dallas County

The Texas Restaurant Association says the state's 55,000 restaurants must be allowed to continue operations during this crisis.

“Keeping restaurants open to provide food via delivery or take-out and pick-up, enhanced with safe, zero-contact curbside pick-up, is vital to the support of Texas’ communities," said TRA president Emily Williams Knight.

Cassanova says those options are all considered safe.

"It's not the food itself is the issue or the problem. It's the proximity to other individuals," he said. "Food itself should not pose a risk to individuals. Or the preparation of food," he added.

RELATED: LIST: Dallas-Fort Worth area business closings

The restaurant association says buying a gift card is a good way to support your favorite restaurants now, when they're hurting.

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