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How to safely order food delivery, pickup and groceries under quarantine variants



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If you stay home more often as a result of the coronavirus pandemic you may be wondering: Can I still order food or food delivery? And is it safe?

The answer is currently yes: food and food delivery services such as DoorDash, Post Cameras, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Instacart are still running.

Read more: Best food delivery service: DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and more compared

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted via food or food packaging, according to CDC and FDA, even if bacteria are known to live on surfaces for up to nine days. This also means you don't have to worry too much if a sick chef transmits the new coronavirus to you via your food, according to an epidemiologist. This is especially true for cooked foods. If you ordered something cold, like a salad, and the chef sneezed at it, it could be risky. But if food is handled properly, there should be very little chance of a problem.

The larger potential problem is to transmit coronavirus from delivery person to customer, or vice versa, through cough, vaporized air particles or other direct contact.

Read more: Large coffee subscriptions for all types of coffee drinkers

In response, many food delivery services move to contactless drop-offs or encourage customers to take advantage of drop-off instructions to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. Earlier in March, the postal delivery service introduced a feature called Dropoff Options, which gives customers the option of either meeting their delivery driver at the door, on the curb or walking without contact and having deliveries left at the door. This week, DoorDash made contactless delivery as the default choice, and Yelp added a contactless delivery option . Food delivery service Instacart launched an option for access to my door across the United States. Uber Eats has also waived delivery charges in the US and Canada during the pandemic.

Here are three tips for safely ordering food or food delivery, if you are sick, quarantined, or just staying there to try to stay healthy.

Provide Delivery Instructions

When ordering pickup or groceries online, you will see a blank box titled "Delivery Instructions." Normally you can use this to provide a gate code, but now you can ask drivers to drop food at the door or send a photo of where the food should be left. Customers can also often contact their driver directly through the apps to make any delivery arrangements as soon as the driver accepts the order.

You can stay up-to-date on what your preferred delivery app or service is doing to mitigate infections on their sites. For example, DoorDash distributes hand sanitizer and gloves to drivers, and works with restaurants to share some best practices for managing food right now, such as taping over ends of straws, a spokesman said.

Grubhub gave drivers and restaurants CDC's recommendations for best hygiene and appropriate precautions to interact with others, a spokesman told CNET. Uber Eats also provides drivers with disinfectants for cars and gives priority to "cities with the greatest need", according to its website.

Read more: Order delivery? Compare fees, delivery times from different services with these apps

Immediately wash your hands

To play it safe, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face after eating or food delivery inside.

Restaurants and other food services are heavily regulated by health officials and have had protocols in place for several years to avoid the spread of influenza, norovirus, hepatitis A and other viruses.

"There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food," Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, as well as the former Baltimore Health Commissioner, told CNET. "However, the virus can live on instruments that people touch, including extraction containers and implements. Therefore, people should wash their hands after touching these objects and before eating or touching our faces."

There are no rules on how to remove food from take-out containers, but you would probably be safest to put it on your own plate or container, toss the take-out container and wash your hands before eating.

Like other viruses, coronaviruses can also survive on surfaces or objects, so it is important to keep them clean. Recycle the bags that the food comes in and disinfect your tables and dishes before and after you eat.

You should also follow normal food safety procedures from the CDC, such as refrigerated debris within two hours. It is also best not to share utensils or cups with your colleagues.

Read more: Cleanse your home from coronavirus: 5 cleaning tools to use now

Overtip your driver. It's right to do

Food delivery drivers are usually paid either by the job (on gaming platforms like DoorDash) or by the hour (at other restaurants). They have no alternative from home if they want to make money.

CNE's Dale Smith recommends to tip food providers 20% or more under special circumstances like these. The safest way to tip your driver is through a food delivery app. If you tip with cash, be sure to wash your hands after touching any bills. And if you need to sign a receipt to add a credit card tip, use your own pen and again, wash your hands afterwards.

For more information, check out 10 Practical Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Without Locking Inside and Coronavirus and COVID-19: All Your Questions Answered .






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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about a medical condition or health objective.


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