Tips on safely ordering restaurant delivery and takeout in New York right now

Written by
Bao Ong
Photography: Shutterstock

Restaurant delivery and takeout has always been an integral part of living in New York City but in this social distancing era, it’s our only option to feel like we’re dining out. Sure, many of us are baking bread and playing mixologist at home, but sometimes we just want to leave the cooking to the pros. Luckily, everyone from your favorite neighborhood pizza shop to Michelin-rated restaurants are stepping up to keep us well fed. But the spread of the novel coronavirus is still nerve wracking for tasks that seemed like an afterthought not long ago. At Time Out, we’ve put together some advice together via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so we can all continue supporting restaurants from the comforts of our own homes. 

Overall, is it safe to consume takeout and delivery?

Yes. But these are the two of the most important tips to keep in mind: Don’t eat out your food out of the container. Discard any packaging and put all food on plates or in bowls because there’s a risk that the surface is contaminated (per the CDC, the virus may spread on surfaces and there have been reports that it can live on cardboard for as long as 24 hours). You can also take an extra by disinfecting any surfaces you eat on before and afterward. It’s also not a bad idea to avoid using the plastic utensils that often come with your delivery. Wash your hands—with soap for 20 seconds—after handling the food before eating.

How can I practice safe social distancing and order food?

If it’s an option, have the delivery person leave the food outside your door so there’s as little contact as possible. There are apps, such as Postmates and Grubhub, that give you options for no-contact deliveries, too.

What’s the best way to handle paying for my takeout or delivery?

Ideally, all transactions involve electronic payment (don’t forget to tip well for delivery people, who are putting themselves at risk). If you’re handling cash, wash your hands before and after and if you’re asked to sign a receipt, use your own pen if possible. For people ordering delivery to their homes, it wouldn’t hurt to wipe down doorknobs before and after.

How likely are you to get the virus from eating the food itself?

There’s little chance because as the CDC reports, the transmission of the virus is through respiratory channels like your nose, mouth and eyes that is more likely to be spread on hands than actually in the food itself.

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