You can’t eat out at restaurants right now but you can — and should, according to Mayor Garcetti — support them (and eat well!) with takeout and delivery orders.
I’ve always been, let’s call it fastidious, about food safety in the kitchen, like many chefs and cooks. Restaurants and delivery services are enacting even more food safety measures than those they already had in place. And while nothing in life is guaranteed and little is certain at this time, the guidelines at the city and state level recognize delivery and takeout food as safe for you and your family.
“There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food,” according to the CDC. “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” And if you wash your hands between touching the surface and your face, you’re good.
By applying social-distancing guidelines and kitchen vigilance to takeout and delivery food, you can quell whatever fears you have. Here are some steps you can take to quiet your mind and order with confidence:
Choose contactless delivery and opt out of utensils. After your delivery carrier has walked away, leave the outermost delivery bag on the doorstep (to throw away) if applicable, and carry just the containers inside to put on your counter. Wash your hands and transfer the food from the containers to your own dishware. Wash your hands well again and eat with your own utensils. When you’re done, recycle or discard packaging, wash your dishes and wipe down your table and counters.
To practice social distancing while getting takeout or curbside pickup, pay by credit card online or by phone beforehand if that’s an option. If not, use contactless phone payments or have the right wad of cash ready. Our science reporter Amina Khan recommended, “To maintain a six-foot distance from other people, let the server put the item down and take three big steps away before you go in and grab it. Avoid direct handoffs.” Do the same with payment if needed. Once your food is home, follow the steps above.
Most importantly: Tip generously. The people feeding and serving you right now deserve whatever extra you can afford above the standard 20%.