Ever since the lockdown was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus, everyday life has become a lot more complicated. One of the biggest challenges it has created is getting food. A task as simple as ordering takeout has become fraught with questions as people are left wondering if it is safe.
With the reality of the coronavirus pandemic settling in for most Indians, they have become extra cautious about personal hygiene to ward off the virus. Ordering food delivery would involve several strangers, from the preparation of the food to its delivery to your house.
First the good news. There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through the food itself. While that is particularly true for cooked foods, ordering cold foods such as a salad can still be a bit risky.
However, this does not mean that you do not need to take precautions when ordering food. During a pandemic like this one, there are always risks. One concern comes as ordering food could lead to exposure to deliverers who encounter many people as they visit several restaurants and residences daily.
But there are ways to mitigate the risks. Here are some current good practices and safety tips you must follow if you decide to order-in food:
Order from Trusted Eateries
Now is not the time to experiment. Opt. for your favourite, trusted restaurants to calm your safety concerns. Do not order from a place that had below standard food or resulted in you being sick before. Big restaurants would also have a set of guidelines up on their website, showcasing the measures they have taken to ensure cleanliness during the pandemic.
Opt for No-Contact Delivery
Remember to maintain social distancing and avoid meeting the food courier in person. Several restaurants and food delivery chains have launched systems to limit contact between food delivery persons and customers and have listed the steps on their websites and apps.
You can ask the delivery person to drop off food at your door and can also send them a photo of where the food should be left. It is also advisable to hang a carry bag outside the main door of your house so that the delivery person can leave the food in it.
Choose any of the digital payment method for contactless deliveries, and if you want to tip the delivery worker, it can be worked out over the phone.
Throw Out the Packaging
While there is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through the food itself, the virus is known to live on different surfaces for up to nine days. So, it is best to immediately transfer the food from the containers used by the restaurant into your own plate or container.
The cardboard or plastic packaging used by the restaurant should be disposed with the rest of your dry waste in a bag so that the sanitation workers can collect it without physical contact.
Wash Your Hands
You should always wash your hands before you eat, but it has become all the more important now. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face after handling the restaurant packaging and before sitting down to eat.
Heat the Food for 2 Minutes
According to the Centre for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, the virus is very sensitive to cooking; and the heat used to cook the food would be enough to kill the virus. But since the food could have been exposed to the outside while traveling, it's a good idea to play safe and heat the food again in a pan or in a microwave so that you can enjoy it without worrying.