Why Food Delivery is Safer than Grocery Store Shopping during the Covid-19 Outbreak
22nd May, 2020
We have all seen the numerous postings about restaurants closing and offering delivery and pick up only services. Naturally, they are all trying to stay afloat during this very trying time. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why you might want to consider ordering take out over going to a supermarket.
Naturally, there are community considerations; supporting local businesses and corporations keeps our country working, and while every order is at a micro level, micro multiplied by millions leads to macro.
However, there is possibly a far more important reason to order from restaurants. It's just safer!
Consider the risk stages of going to a supermarket right now:
- The masses of people swarming around toilet paper aisles and interacting about why there isn’t any left represents exactly what the CDC and every health agency is recommending against - social gathering.
- Customers with unclean hands touch and put back products as a matter of general behavior, therefore, potential transmission of the virus increases.
- Waiting in line to checkout generally promotes social interaction between strangers.
- The cooking and handling of raw food at home carries its own risks. I could go on but I think the point is clear.
Conversely, the risks of the delivery interaction depends entirely on how it’s orchestrated. For the food’s recipient, the risk is comparably low. Yes, there can be transmission through contaminated inorganic objects such as packaging, however, health agencies believe the most important route of transmission is respiratory droplets that spread when an individual sneezes, coughs, and / or breathes in local proximity to others, hence why quarantine for both healthy and infected individuals has been the singularly most promoted response to the pandemic.
Cooked foods are unlikely to be contaminated after cooking, and restaurants are mandated to train their employees in safe handling procedures. This mandate is inspected by local health departments, thus it is actually strictly enforced.
For example, at one of our clients, Phood Farmacy, the CEO and Executive chef instigated a rotating half hour check list on sanitized surface cleaning, employees are checked daily for any fever or temperature changes, and staff wear disposable gloves as a rule, even before Covid-19. Drivers must wait outside the kitchen for collection. The team is quite small, thus social
distancing at work has been the norm. Indeed, this is the same for many small business delivery companies; the employee numbers are quite small thus, the risk of passing infection is lower than at large food retailers.
Certainly delivery drivers may be exposed given all of the people they encounter. However, this risk is far reduced for all. Customers can now request that their food be left outside their door (contactless delivery). I would recommend that all restaurants assign for the enhancement of employee protection. In terms of tips, customers can, in most cases, tip electronically or place cash outside in advance of the delivery arriving.
Given most countries operate a centralized food system, there really is no 100% safe food handling process during a pandemic. However, let's stay safe and take precautions to safeguard all of our workers in our community as we do to protect ourselves.
Please remember how essential food service and delivery workers are to our daily lives, and let's keep our food delivery businesses in business.
I wish everyone a safe and virus free journey through our challenging weeks and month ahead.