Have you lost the joy of cooking during COVID-19? Does the thought of making yet another sandwich or home-cooked meal have you hiding from the rest of your family?
Why not try ordering takeout/delivery and spice up the monotony of your daily breakfast, lunch and dinner? During this time of the pandemic, you may wonder if it’s safe to do.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has verified there is no association between food and the transmission of COVID-19,” said Janet Conner, MT (ASCP), an infection preventionist at North Colorado Medical Center. “SARS-COV-2 does not live in or on food. It enters in the upper respiratory tract, somewhere food doesn’t go.”
Unless you literally inhale your food (please don’t try this) or don’t follow proper handwashing guidelines, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your risk is very low. Takeout and delivery are safe alternatives to home-cooked meals despite what you might have thought or heard.
“Your main concern should be person-to-person transmission and not necessarily your food or the containers it comes in,” Conner said. “Food service workers who are masked are not at risk of contaminating other people or the food supply."
If you’ve simply had enough of being the short-order cook, this is a great time to support local restaurants in your area. Conner shares these tips to ensure you and your family’s safety when ordering takeout or delivery.
Tips for Takeout and Delivery
1. Leave Delivery at Door or Put Takeout in the Trunk
If you are having food delivered to your home, let the driver know or notate in your mobile food-delivery app where you’d like it left. Wait until the driver is at least six feet away before bringing the food inside.
If you are picking up, try to maintain as much distance as you can between you and restaurant staff. See if they can put your food in the trunk or on the floor of your back seat.
2. Use Contactless Payment
Thanks to the digital age, we can quickly pay with our phones to minimize person-to-person interactions. If you are using cash to pay or tip, lay it somewhere safe that allows you to avoid touching hands directly.
3. Plate Your Food
Once you bring the food inside, plate your food and discard the outer packaging and containers by either recycling or throwing in the trash.
4. Sanitize Surfaces
Transmission from containers is highly unlikely, but it’s not a bad idea to sanitize any surface the bags or containers came in contact with.
“You don’t have to be paranoid about this and wipe down the bags and containers your food comes in,” Conner said. “But it’s always smart to keep surfaces like your counters and refrigerator clean.”
5. Wash Your Hands
(Insert eye roll) We know, we know. This habit really, truly is one of the most important things you can do along with social distancing to lower your risk.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after you’ve received and plated your food, after you dispose of containers and packaging and before you sit down to enjoy your meal. This might sound excessive, but it is your best method of protection.
6. Don’t Forget to Tip!
While the economy is rough, tips are more important than ever before to those in the service industry. Why not chip in a few extra bucks?
7. If You’re Sick: Just Do Delivery
If you’re feeling sick, send somebody else out to get food or have it delivered to your doorstep. This if for your safety and the safety of everyone else too.
Still have concerns?
“The good news is that this virus can be effectively removed by normal disinfecting and handwashing practices,” Conner said. “If you’re still worried your food might be carrying the virus, zap it in the microwave or leave it in the refrigerator for a few days to kill the virus.”
Want more tips to protect you and your family? Check out these helpful COVID-19 articles on the Banner Health blog. For the latest on COVID-19 visit BannerHealth.com or for the most up-to-date CDC guidelines visit their website.