Is It Safe to Order Food Delivery? We Asked a Doctor for the Facts

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we’ve been told by everyone from our local leaders to our moms to stay inside. We only leave the house for a quick walk or grocery store run, but the nonstop cooking is hard to keep up with. Plus, we want to support our local restaurants desperate for business right now. We can’t dine in, but is it safe to order food delivery?

We combed through official notices, asked a doctor for his expert opinion and came up with this quick guide to staying safe at home while ordering in—because yes, this is still allowed.

1. Practice safe social distancing with contactless delivery

Staying at least six feet away from other people, wearing (sometimes makeshift) masks in public, donning gloves—we do it all in the name of social distancing! But when someone making a delivery is coming to your house, you have the advantage of staying inside while they stay outside. This barrier will protect both of you and ensure that you never have to come face-to-face—aka, contactless delivery.

“A lot of restaurants are offering contactless delivery, meaning you never have to come in contact with the person delivering your food,” says neonatologist Snehal Doshi, M.D., CEO of Millennium Neonatology. “Instead, people are having their order dropped off at their door, and the delivery person will ring the bell and leave,” or you can have them or the restaurant give you a call or send you a notification that the food is waiting outside—the possibilities for staying away from each other are endless.

2. Pay ahead of time

If you live in a city that has a food delivery service like Postmates or Seamless, the idea of paying with your card on file through an app is no revelatory concept. Some restaurants and some towns don’t have this option, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the rules of social distancing to pay for your meal. Dr. Doshi tells us it’s totally normal and acceptable to call a restaurant ahead of time to give them your credit card info and have them charge you when your order is delivered. “It’s safer for everyone this way,” he says. “That way, no one has to handle cash or touch your credit cards.”

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