Food Delivery in the Time of Coronavirus: Is it Safe?
The spread of coronavirus has stopped our world in its tracks. COVID-19 is affecting livelihoods unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetime - nations have gone into lockdown, airports have shut down, so have schools and colleges. Malls, parks, beaches, cinemas - the world has come to a standstill.
The worldwide lockdown has naturally, also taken over the restaurant industry. Governments across the world, to control the spread of the coronavirus, have restricted food establishments from serving diners, limiting their operations to delivery only.
The decision is rightfully taken to promote social distancing in an effort to help flatten the curve, as restaurants can attract large crowds of masses in close proximity. Restricted or not, during this time of crisis, opting for delivery instead of visiting a restaurant is the morally responsible thing to do.
However, given the unusual circumstances, the safety and morality of home delivery poses a question in people's minds.
The first question that comes up about home-delivery revolves around safety - "Is it safe to eat food from outside?"
The second question poses a question of morality - "Is it fair for the delivery workers who are putting themselves at risk to deliver my food?"
Is it safe to eat food from restaurants?
Given CDC and FDA's official reports of no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 through food, any risk of infection from outside food is minimum. In short, eating food produced in restaurants is generally safe.
Another important thing to note is that in addition to the general health and safety measures imposed on food establishments, even more strict and critical food safety measures have been imposed and taken by restaurants across the region in light of COVID-19 to ensure that a high amount of care is being taken in the preparation and delivery of meals.
Here is what Dubai's BB Social is doing to ensure the highest level of safety for their customers
You can find more health & safety measures being taken by restaurants in Dubai here.
What about the delivery workers?
The second, more morally driven question comes from the general concern for people who are working hard all day to deliver us our food. Are we putting them at risk?
Every day, these diligent delivery workers get out and about in the world to deliver us our favorite meals and keep us happy. Though the world at the moment is a scary place to step out in, most of these workers rely on these daily orders to pay their bills and support their families. In cases like these, a lack of orders from our side might end up hurting their only source of income, and also of the restaurant that employees them, which may lead to a highly problematic lay-off for these workers.
That being said, we must be extremely considerate of their rights and safety while ordering food. A few ways you can make sure that you are being conscious and considerate while ordering food are:
- Consider the employer: While picking a delivery partner to order from, consider picking the ones that care for their employees and provide them the required benefits. For example, UberEats announced that it would provide it's delivery partners 2 weeks of paid sick leave if they were to fall sick, while Deliveroo provides its delivery workers with mouth and hand protection to keep them safe from the virus.
- Choose contactless delivery: Almost every delivery player has introduced the option of "contactless delivery", where your food is delivered without any physical contact between you and the delivery worker. Make sure to always opt for contactless delivery to minimise any risk of infection for you and the delivery worker.
- Be kind & Tip generously: Remember that these people are working strenuously to serve you during these hard times, make sure to make their day better by being patient and kind towards them, and by supporting them by leaving good reviews and tipping them generously.
Along with taking care of the delivery workers, it's also important for us to take proper precautionary measures when ordering food for delivery to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves to anything harmful.
Follow these simple steps while ordering delivery to protect yourself:
- Discard & Disinfect: Make sure to discard or disinfect any surfaces that may be contaminated. Immediately throw away any packaging that comes with your delivery (menus, cutlery, bags etc.). Avoid using cutlery and tissues from the package and opt for using your own dishes and cutlery from your home. Don't forget to also disinfect any surfaces that they might have come in contact with.
- Wash your hands: As soon as you throw away the materials, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching anything else.
- Skip Sharing: For once, sharing is not caring. Avoid sharing meals with anyone to minimise the spread of infections. Order individual meals for each member whenever possible.
At this time of crisis, it has become more important than ever to stand united and support each other in every way possible, specially the frontline workers who are risking their health and working hard to make our lives easier.
Find out how you can support your favorite local restaurants here.