The COVID-19 pandemic has affected just about every aspect of our lives. Now, grocery shopping or ordering food can be a danger to our health. In this scary time, our well-being and the well-being of others need to be our priority. We were interviewed by Your Tango about how to get the food you need while staying safe in this pandemic.
Is having groceries or food delivered safer than going to the store?
Essentially, yes. You are safer having groceries delivered versus going to the store, in that, anytime you leave the house, you theoretically open yourself up to more opportunity for infection. Any virus can survive better in a living host than on the surface, so by entering a store, you are at higher risk. That said, you should still treat the packaging of goods delivered as a potential threat.
When bringing groceries into your home, how should you handle them?
Consider wearing disposable gloves when handling the packaging, as the coronavirus appears to be able to survive on cardboard for at least 24 hours, and on plastic for 72 hours. Be thoughtful in either treating the packaging with antiseptic, or removing contents and placing them into a fresh, clean, sanitized container before storing.
Dispose of packages appropriately and always wash your hands after.
How can you protect yourself while grocery shopping?
Remember that aerosolized virus-containing particles can be a source of infection, so covering eyes with glasses, mouth with a mask, and ears with a scarf can help prevent transmission. Don’t forget to wash these items after your shopping is complete, as they may be infected now.
Another precaution to follow— avoid touching your eyes, face, mouth, or ears in the store or at home before you have washed your hands and finished taking care of your groceries.
Are there areas to avoid within the store?
While we have no evidence that the virus is being transmitted via food, remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So it is best to avoid places like salad bars and pastry cabinets.
Here are more tips to stay safe when grocery shopping or ordering takeout.
Patrick Hardy, emergency planning expert, and Frank Curto share some tips to consider. Curto is the head of quality and regulatory at Territory Foods as well as a former employee of USDA.
- Choose grocery delivery over going to the store.
- Disinfect and sanitize your groceries. Dispose of boxes you can’t clean.
- Avoid areas that involve self-serving, like buffets, donuts, bagels and others.
- Consider restaurant delivery. Leave tips in envelopes and have the driver leave the food. Take it in once they have left and dispose of containers immediately.
- Feeling nervous about eating food prepared by others? Heat it up. Although not yet proven with the coronavirus, previous outbreaks have shown that cooking is expected to kill the virus.
- Avoid contact with delivery people because the virus spreads most commonly through direct contact. Research the restaurant’s sanitation steps and preventative measures.
- Make sure any delivery service or takeout location you choose is following protocol.
- Practice good safety measures like washing your hands, cooking raw food thoroughly, keep your refrigerator cold, and sanitizing kitchen utensils.
While is it difficult to remove 100% of viral transmissions, following these guidelines will help reduce exposure greatly. Another measure you can take for your health is boosting your immune system. We can all make a difference. Stay safe and cautious.