During the coronavirus shutdown, Americans have been advised to practice social distancing, which means avoiding crowded places, which include restaurants, coffee shops, bars, or large gatherings. That doesn’t mean, however, that people still cannot safely enjoy a meal from their favorite restaurants, provided that proper precautions are being taken.
“There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, according to the CDC and the FDA, though germs are known to live on surfaces up to nine days,” reports CNET. “The bigger potential issue is transmitting the new coronavirus from delivery person to customer, or vice versa, through coughing, vaporized air particles or other direct contact.”
To avoid any possibility of transmitting the virus through contact, delivery services are now encouraging customers to use the new drop-off options to limit the spread. Postmates has introduced this feature as well as Instacart.
Even with those measures in place, people should still take further precautions as outlined by CNET. First and foremost, people should leave delivery instructions telling the deliverer to leave the food at the front door. People should also check to see exactly what precautions delivery services have implemented to ensure drivers are not transmitting the disease.
“For example, DoorDash is distributing hand sanitizer and gloves to drivers, and is working with restaurants to share some best practices for handling food at this time, like taping over ends of straws,” continued CNET. “Grubhub provided drivers and restaurants with the CDC’s recommendations for best hygiene and appropriate precautions for interacting with others. Uber Eats is also giving drivers car disinfectant, prioritizing ‘cities with the greatest need.'”
Beyond that, people should also immediately wash their hands for up to 20 seconds upon receiving the food and removing it from the delivery bags. Simply place the delivery bags and containers on a plate that can be thoroughly washed so that they do not come in contact with other parts of the dining room or kitchen. Use your own utensils.
Lastly, CNET recommended that people tip their food delivery drivers at least 20% extra during this time.
Over the weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti cautioned residents against dining in restaurants or bars while encouraging people to order takeout.
“If you were going to go out to dinner, maybe you don’t go out to dinner,” he said, “but order out of that restaurant. Let’s prop up those local businesses that are here in Los Angeles.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that a full lockdown in the United States may be happening.
“We need to be very serious about – for a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States,” he said. “We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public.”