The market for restaurant takeout and delivery is heating up as people become homebound and dining establishments across the county have been forced to close their eat-in business, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Experts say it is safe to order food in because although research on COVID-19 is just developing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted through food. But there are common sense rules to follow to protect yourself and avoid infection. Rather than travel to the restaurant and risk being around other people, consider the delivery option for takeout.
The major risk here, say experts, is the actuary handoff when the delivery arrives – but it is still safer than going out yourself. To minimize that risk, Dr. Donald Schaffner, a professor of food science at Rutgers’ University and an expert in microbial food safety, tells the Journal you can ask the delivery person to leave the order outside your door. Unpack your food, dispose of the packaging, then wash your hands thoroughly before eating, he advises.
Another tip is order enough for at least two meals to minimize delivery costs as well as social contact, advises the Journal.
CNET says many delivery services such as Postmates, DoorDash, and Instacart are giving customers the options of meeting the delivery driver at the door, curbside, or go “non-contact” and have deliveries left at the door.
Uber Eats has waived delivery fees in the U.S. and Canada during the pandemic. CNET notes Uber Eats is providing their drivers with a car disinfectant, prioritizing the cities with the greatest need, according to their web site.
Wash your hands and avoid touching your face after bringing your delivery inside.
“While there is no evidence for COVID-19 being transmitted by food, the virus can live on instruments that people touch, including takeout containers and utensils,” Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University tells CNET.
Be safe and put the food on your own plate, she advises, throwing away the container and washing your hands again before eating. Use your own utensils.
What are the best takeout and delivery meals? Matt Weingarten, the chief culinary officer of the fast-casual chain Dig has studied the best foods that stand up to delivery. He tells the Journal that folks should not order crunchy foods like French fries that become soggy as they travel.
Cold dishes like salads and sandwiches, soups, stews, curries, braised and steamed items are all ideal for delivery, he says.
While eating a good takeout meal is a real treat during self-quarantine, it is also the right thing to do for the economy.
The National Restaurant Association reports the industry has already lost 3 million jobs and a fair share of independent restaurants might never reopen. By ordering food from local eateries, you can help keep them afloat, according to the Journal.
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