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Dining seating, already scarce, now taped off as COVID-19 precaution

<p>Some of the many tables now closed to students to curb the spread of COVID-19 on campus.</p>

Some of the many tables now closed to students to curb the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Dining tables in the Brodhead Center, Marketplace and the Bryan Center have been roped off in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases locally and nationwide, according to Robert Coffey, executive director of dining services. 

“Duke Medical experts have identified two primary drivers of viral spread based on experiences to date: eating with others and gathering in small groups of just 2-3 people. These two actions have significantly contributed to the spread of the virus,” Coffey wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

“Based on this and because of the spike in cases nationally and locally, Duke Dining has been [advised] to transition to no dine-in options and offer pick-up/to-go options in our venues. Outdoor seating will remain available with the proper social distancing standards being followed and only having masks down while eating,” Coffey wrote.

These changes come following an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout North Carolina. Although Duke is maintaining a rate of positive tests well below the surrounding area and the state, there has been an increase in the number of positives in recent weeks, with 17 new student cases each week for the past two weeks. 

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