How To Open And Clean Delivery Packages During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Maija Kappler

Part of what makes the coronavirus pandemic daunting is how, even for those of us lucky enough to be healthy and safe, many daily routines have completely changed. There are all kinds of things we took for granted before that we now realize we have to pay extra close attention to.

One such thing: receiving deliveries.

Whether it’s food delivery, groceries, or something ordered from Amazon, these packages were put together at some other location and passed through many hands before arriving at your doorstep.

Remember last week, when things were still normal and we were casually ordering clothes online?
Remember last week, when things were still normal and we were casually ordering clothes online?

Mail carriers and couriers are working harder with the increase in online shopping, and many of the restaurants that have closed are still offering takeout and delivery as a way to supplement their lost income. And lots of kind people are taking initiative to help their neighbors by picking up groceries, medication and other essentials, putting themselves at risk so that other people have what they need.

So, in this age of social distancing, how do we safely and responsibly receive a package? Here are some tips.

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Request a contact-free delivery

Luckily, delivery people leaving packages on your doorstep without actually interacting with you is already the norm in many cases. Most food delivery services are already doing it, or at the very least letting customers request it (often in the “notes” or “special instructions” section of delivery apps). The risk of transmission through food is very low, epidemiologist Stephen Morse told The Atlantic: “Cooked foods are unlikely to be a concern unless they get contaminated after cooking.”

Canada Post, too, is taking extra precautions by no longer requesting signatures when they drop off packages. Delivery orders of this kind are also relatively unlikely to transmit coronavirus, although you should still wash your hands after opening them, just as a precaution.

The contact-free delivery is more for the delivery person’s safety than your own: they’re particularly at risk, given how many people they...

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