COVID-19 Risk Index – What your chances are to get the coronavirus from different activities

COVID-19 Recovery Consulting has released a COVID 19 Risk Index which provides details on the risks of everyday activities during the pandemic.

“As businesses begin to reopen and you resume your daily life after COVID-19 closures, use our Risk Index to determine the safety levels of your favourite activities,” the company said.

This risk index follows the publication of similar charts from the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Texas Medical Association (TMA).

The risk level of contracting COVID-19 from different activities vary based on four main factors:

  • Enclosed space
  • Duration of interaction
  • Crowds – The density of people and social distancing
  • Forceful exhalation – Sneezing, yelling, singing, and coughing

The most dangerous activities are indoor parties, night clubs and bars, contact sports, public transport, air travel, concerts, religious services, theatres, and watching sports matches.

Medium- to high-risk activities include exercising in a gym, going to a hairdresser or nail salon, working in an office, and visiting a restaurant.

Medium risk activities include visiting a hospital, going to the dentist, taking a metered taxi or Uber, visiting a museum, and outdoor restaurant dining.

Low- and low/medium-risk activities are staying at home, walking outdoors, picking up fast-food, running, cycling, picnics, tennis, golf, and shopping.

Reducing your risk of getting COVID-19

The World Health Organisation and the South African Department of Health have released the following guidelines to reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19:

  1. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  2. Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others.
  3. Wear a mask which covers your nose and mouth.
  4. Avoid going to crowded places.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  6. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

People are also advised to follow good respiratory hygiene, which includes covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Even if you have minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, you should stay home and self-isolate until you recover.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has recently announced the isolation period for patients confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days.

He said the change is based on evidence that most patients with mild COVID-19 infections continue to share the virus from their upper airways for approximately seven to 12 days.

COVID-19 Risk Index

The table below provides an overview of the risk of contracting COVID-19 from various activities based on three main sources:

The table also shows whether these activities are currently allowed in South Africa under the latest alert level 3 lockdown regulations.

COVID-19 Risk Index
Activity Risk Regulations
Going for a walk, run or cycle alone Low risk Allowed
Staying at home Low risk Allowed
Outdoor picnic or porch dining Low risk Allowed
Picking up takeout food, coffee, or groceries from stores Low risk Allowed
Teleworking from your own home Low risk Allowed
Going camping with your household Low risk Not Allowed
Grocery shopping Moderate-low risk Allowed
Playing tennis Moderate-low risk Allowed
Playing golf Moderate-low risk Allowed
Going for a walk, run, or bike ride with your household or other close contacts Moderate-low risk Allowed
Sitting at a doctor’s waiting room Moderate-low risk Allowed
Going to a library or museum Moderate-low risk Allowed
Eating at a restaurant (outside) Moderate-low risk Allowed
Walking in a busy street Moderate-low risk Allowed
Staying at a hotel Moderate-low risk Allowed for business only
Spending an hour at a playground Moderate-low risk Not Allowed
Shopping at a mall Moderate risk Allowed
Outdoor restaurant dining Moderate risk Allowed
Visiting hospital emergency department Moderate risk Allowed
Medical office visit Moderate risk Allowed
Dentist appointment Moderate risk Allowed
Taking a taxi or a ride-sharing service Moderate risk Allowed
Visiting a museum Moderate risk Allowed
Working in an office building Moderate risk Allowed
Sending kids to school or day care Moderate risk Allowed for certain grades
Swimming in a public pool Moderate risk Not Allowed
Visiting an elderly person at their home Moderate risk Not Allowed
Having dinner at someone else’s house Moderate risk Not Allowed
Attending a braai Moderate risk Not Allowed
Going to the beach Moderate risk Not Allowed
Going to a hair salon Moderate-high risk Allowed
Going to a nail salon Moderate-high risk Allowed
Eating at a restaurant (inside) Moderate-high risk Allowed
Attending a funeral Moderate-high risk Allowed
Hugging or shaking hands when greeting Moderate-high risk Discouraged
Attending a wedding Moderate-high risk Not Allowed
Playing football or basketball Moderate-high risk Not Allowed
Exercising at a gym Moderate-high risk Not Allowed
Going to live theatre High risk Allowed
Going to a movie theatre High risk Allowed
Going to a casino High risk Allowed
Taking public transport High risk Allowed
Air travel High risk Allowed for business only
Eating at a buffet High risk Not Allowed
Going to an amusement park High risk Not Allowed
Attending a large music concert High risk Not Allowed
Going to a sports stadium High risk Not Allowed
Playing contact sport High risk Not Allowed
Going to religious gathering with 500+ people High risk Not Allowed
Indoor party High risk Not Allowed
Going to a night club High risk Not Allowed
Going to a bar High risk Not Allowed

COVID-19 Recovery Consulting COVID-19 Risk Index


Texas Medical Association


Arizona Department of Health Services


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COVID-19 Risk Index – What your chances are to get the coronavirus from different activities