COVID-19

Are food deliveries and groceries safe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

April 3, 2020

If dining in at restaurants is not safe, should we consider carry-out, food deliveries and groceries safe?

In many communities, “non-essential” businesses have shut down. Even in communities where restaurants remain open to dine-in customers, it is not advisable to dine in due to the potential spread of COVID-19. If dining in at restaurants is not safe, should we consider carry-out, food deliveries and groceries safe?

Groceries and grocery stores
The risk of contracting the coronavirus from groceries is very low, but you can take a few steps to further reduce your chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19 during the process of grocery shopping.

If you are planning to go to the grocery store yourself, you should plan to go during a less busy time in order to minimize your contact with other people.

  • Plan to disinfect the handle of the shopping cart with disinfecting wipes.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance from other shoppers while in the store.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or face.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as possible after leaving the store.

Many grocery stores deliver. If you are planning to have your groceries delivered, you should try to make payment without direct contact with another person. This usually can be done online, including the tip. You should have the delivery person leave your groceries on your doorstep or porch.

Whether you shop yourself or have your groceries delivered, you should disinfect all nonporous containers (jars, bottles, cans, etc.) received from the grocery store. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using everyday disinfecting wipes for this, or you can make your own disinfecting solution by mixing one-third cup of bleach with a gallon of water (or four teaspoons per quart of water). Make sure the bleach has not expired. Do not mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Let the items sit for one minute after applying the disinfecting solution or after using disinfecting wipes before drying the items. Avoid touching your face or eyes during this process, disinfect all surfaces in your home that the bags or items have touched, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you’re finished.

Food deliveries and carry-out food
In most communities, carry-out and delivery food options from restaurants are available. Carry-out and delivery are generally considered low-risk activities for contracting or spreading COVID-19, and they are a great way to support your local business community during these difficult times. However, you can take some steps to further decrease the risk.

Whether you choose carry-out or to have food delivered from a restaurant, similar to grocery delivery you should make payment without direct contact with another person. This usually can be done online or on the phone.

For delivery, have the delivery person leave your food on your doorstep or porch. The food itself is considered very low risk for contracting the virus, however, the food containers might be able to transmit COVID-19. Transfer the food from the restaurant container to your own containers or dishes and immediately dispose of the restaurant containers. Disinfect any surfaces that the containers touched. Immediately wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water. If possible, microwave your food for 30 seconds to kill any virus possibly present on the food.

For carry-out, many places offer curbside pickup so you do not have to enter the restaurant. Use this option if available and place the food into your trunk or cargo area. Again, transfer the food from the restaurant container to your own containers or dishes and immediately dispose of the restaurant containers. Disinfect any surfaces that the containers touched. Immediately wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water. If possible, microwave your food for 30 seconds to kill any virus possibly present on the food.