Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we have been advised to stay inside and to minimize human contact. One of the biggest challenges people are facing during self-quarantine is getting food. Many states and cities have restricted restaurants from opening since dining out are no longer considered safe. However, ordering delivery is still a viable option. There is little evidence to support that COVID-19, can be transmitted through food or food packaging, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. The bigger potential problem in food delivery services is transmitting the virus from delivery person to customer, or vice versa, through direct contact, packaging, or through cash exchange.
During a pandemic like this one, there are always risks, but there are also ways to mitigate those risks. Here are some current good practices both in terms of health and ethics for getting takeout:
- Practice social distancing
The risk can be much higher for delivery workers who have to travel and interact with people so avoid meeting the food courier in person. Several online food delivery apps have added the “Leave at My Door Delivery” option to help limit in-person contact. Some other apps have a contact-free delivery option, which allows you to designate where the food should be left. If those options are not available, you can always request to have the food left on your doorstep, in the lobby, or somewhere else.
- Throw out the packaging
There is always a risk of getting infected by the virus by coming into contact with packaging surfaces. To avoid any risk of infection through the packaging of your food delivery, it is good to throw out the package as soon as possible and wash your hands straight after. It is also good to avoid using the containers and utensils that the food came in especially if it is made of plastic as the virus could remain in plastic for up to three days.
Restaurants and fast-food chains should also consider replacing their plastic packaging and utensils with eco-friendly disposable packaging for the safety of customers as well as for sustainable reasons. The biodegradable food packaging, eco-friendly disposable cutlery, and eco-friendly paper plates from Ecoware are best for food delivery as they are made from sugarcane pulp which prevents lasting contamination. Moreover, it takes less time to decompose.
- Choose an online payment option
Viruses can easily transfer from one person to another through an exchange of cash. To maintain social distance, many food delivery services are moving to contactless drop-offs to minimize the chance of spreading the virus. Online food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato have urged customers to move to digital payments after Amazon stopped accepting cash payments in order to encourage contactless deliveries. Other online platforms like Grofers and BigBasket too urged their customers to move to digital payments. Contact-free delivery is available only for those who have opted for a prepaid order and not cash on delivery so make sure you look at the options before placing your order.
- Order from a reliable food ordering app or website
Restaurants and other food delivery services are highly regulated by health officials and have protocols in place to avoid spreading the virus. However, you must still take precautions and order food from only reliable and restaurants in town.
- Don’t forget to wash your hands
Avoid touching your face after bringing your food inside. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before you eat. This small action can help you and your family stay safe from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Leave a good rating
The performance of the restaurants and delivery men are often judged by their ratings, which can have an impact on their duty. It is helpful to leave a good rating and a positive review for your restaurant so that they know that the system of contact-less delivery option is working.
Even if this contact-less delivery system does not continue after the end of the coronavirus outbreak, you should still make a habit to pour your food from the plastic food container as they may contain germs. You can use eco-friendly disposable bowls, disposable wooden spoons, and biodegradable disposable plates available at Ecoware.in. These products are made from natural materials which means they are safe from every aspect.