Take Out or Dine Out?


Take Out or Dine Out?

Deciding On The Best Option During COVID-19

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of schools, offices, bars, churches; anywhere there is a mass gathering. However, food service establishments will have to remain open, because, well, we need to eat! The good news is researchers have indicated that there is no evidence so far indicating that COVID-19 is food-borne or food service-driven. We will however need to take heed to recommendations that have been given and take responsible steps in preventing spread of this disease by limiting unnecessary public gatherings, which includes eating out, especially in large groups. Again, I implore everyone in the food supply chain to take precaution and follow proper hygiene practices to keep the risk of contamination low, along with ensuring that all workers are screened and asked to remain home in quarantine if suspectedto be ill.

Our food service establishments currently offer numerous options that minimise personal interaction: kerbside pick-up, order-in takeout and delivery. You should choose your preference based on your risk level. If you choose to have your food delivered, you can opt to have the package left at your door to avoid personal interaction.

While the US Food and Drug Administration stated on its website that it's not aware of any reports suggesting COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging, you can take extra precaution by immediately throwing away food packaging material and sanitise surfaces which may have come in contact with the packaging material.
If you are uncertain about a restaurant's food-handling practices and standards, I suggest that you do not order takeout; only order from establishments that you are familiar with.

Personally, I think the best way to reduce the risk of contracting the disease and still support your favourite restaurant is to order takeout, but if you do decide to dine out, take the following precautions:

1. Take note of the information released daily by the Public Health Department to identify critical outbreak areas and avoid food establishments in those areas — you should also do this is if ordering in.

2. If you are in a high-risk group — older adults over 60 years of age, have underlying medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease — I suggest you order takeout or take advantage of the numerous kerbside pick-up offers by some of your favourite restaurants.

3. Steer clear of self-serve buffets during these times!

4. Wash your hands! For at least 20 seconds — before you eat, after you've used the restroom, and after touching surfaces that could potentially be contaminated such as doorknobs and menus.

5. Do not share food or utensils during this time; ask for separate plates.

6. Whether you use a card or banknotes to pay, wash/sanitise your hands afterwards.

This of course is not food safety-related, but ensure you tip generously if you can!! The servers, delivery personnel and restaurant owners are putting themselves at risk so you can still enjoy your delicious meals!

Marshalee Valentine, CEO/Lead Consultant Compliance Management Systems email: admin@comply-cms.com skype: marshalee.valentine

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