Heath Officials Say Food Delivery Services Safe During Outbreak

Mar 17, 2020, 7:30 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Many people are looking to order food in with restaurant dining rooms closed across Utah and health officials said delivery services like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats are safe to use.

The three major food delivery services are still in business in most counties and Seth Nelson, an environmental specialist with the Salt Lake County Health Department, said they’re a smart option.

“It’s actually a good way of minimizing the interaction with a lot of people in the public,” Nelson said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.

As for getting the virus by handling the take-out packaging, health officials said it’s a very low risk.

“The main mode of transmission of the COVID-19 at this point is through that person-to-person contact, that’s why they suggest the six feet, no handshakes, no direct interactions with people if at all possible,” said Nelson.

If customers want to be extra safe though, leave delivery instructions.

They can ask drivers to drop off food at the door or send a photo of where the food should be left.

DoorDash sent an email to customers Wednesday saying anyone who places an order through the app must request no-contact delivery.

“In the environment that we’re in right now, the best option is to avoid contact with people especially if you’re not familiar with them and it’s not somebody from your own household,” Nelson said.

There are no rules in terms of how to remove food from takeout containers, but customers would probably be safest putting it on their own plate, throwing out the container, and washing their hands before eating.

The health department also reminded delivery drivers they should be following good practices like cleaning their vehicles, sanitizing containers they set food in and washing their hands often.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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Heath Officials Say Food Delivery Services Safe During Outbreak