COVID-19 has tortured the stock market, travel, and now the food industry. As of March 16, many restaurants across the United States have closed their dining rooms to stop the spread of the coronavirus. A growing list of places including Los Angeles, New York City, Ohio, and Illinois are permitted to offer food only via delivery or take out.
The novel coronavirus is spread from person-to-person, which is why local governments are closing dining rooms. It’s unlikely—but possible—for food service workers like kitchen staff to spread the virus, says Rodney Rohde, chair and professor of the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program and Associate Dean for Research for the College of Health Professions at Texas State University.
Rohde says you should be more concerned about using public touch screens to order your food than the food itself.
Washing your hands after using screens, before eating, and as soon as you get home are simple ways to avoid getting sick.
Roslyn Stone, chief operating officer of Zero Hour Health, which advises restaurants and companies on health and wellness, says that consumers shouldn’t be worried about eating food prepared by others. Restaurants that already follow good food safety practices to ensure prevent against food-borne illnesses won’t pose a risk to consumers, she says
“We are as concerned about Hepatitis A as we are about coronavirus,” Stone says.
Stone says restaurants need to focus on ensuring touch points—like door knobs—are sanitized often, employees wash their hands, and that sick workers stay at home.
Delivery services like Postmates are responding to the pandemic by allowing customers to order in with non-contact delivery. Deliveries can now just be left at your door.