How to handle takeout, delivery and grocery shopping during a public health emergency

Updated: Mar. 27, 2020 at 4:34 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Restaurants and grocery stores are taking all precautions to keep germs from spreading.

There are precautions consumers can take to help minimize their risk of catching or spreading germs too.

The LSU AgCenter created guides to help consumers and retail/grocery store managers navigate this public health emergency.

The first thing to consider is everyone should be staying home, as ordered by Governor John Bel Edwards, during this health crisis.

A few exceptions to the order are when residents need to pick up food or shop for groceries.

If you are ordering takeout or delivery, make sure you are limiting any person-to-person contact.

Restaurant employees preparing and handling food need to be healthy.

ONE-STOP-SHOP: Everything you need to know related to Baton Rouge area impact of COVID-19

The LSU AgCenter created guides to help consumers and retail/grocery store managers navigate...
The LSU AgCenter created guides to help consumers and retail/grocery store managers navigate this public health emergency. (Source: LSU AgCenter)(LSU AgCenter)

Consumers can pay for their food online or through an app like Waitr or UberEats, and have the delivery person drop off the food at the doorstep.

As soon as you bring the food inside, wash your hands.

It is important to note that COVID-19 is not a food-borne virus. It is transferred through droplets shared between people.

That is why social distancing is so important.

“A group of people we don’t talk much about is people who are actually delivering the foods because those are the people who are coming into contact with a lot of people,” said Wenqing Xu, an assistant professor at the LSU AgCenter. “They go to different restaurants and they go to different households so they should take precautions at that point to minimize the person-to-person contact. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your dirty hands. Wash your hands as soon as you get the chance. If you don’t have the opportunity to wash your hands use hand sanitizer.”

While hand sanitizer should not replace washing your hands, it is a good alternative until you can get to a sink to properly wash your hands.

While grocery shopping, there are precautions retail and grocery store managers can take to help reduce the spreading of germs.

“As managers, you need to be able to identify the high-risk areas in your stores like the places of your stores with higher traffic to limit person-to-person contact. You want to disinfect that area more frequently than areas that not too many people go to," said Professor Xu.

Consider marking tape on the floor of cash register lines to ensure customers are standing six feet from each other.

Some stores are allowing only elderly individuals to shop during the first hour of operation.

Consumers can also take precautions.

“I think customers should plan ahead. Try to limit their time in the store. Try to minimize contact with groups of people always helps," Xu explained. “Plan ahead, make a shopping list, go in and get out. I think that’s good too and wash your hands properly after you come back from stores.”

If you want to take an extra precaution, wipe down the bags and items when you get home.

You can set up a disinfecting area at the front entrance of your home.

Make sure you wash your hands after you’re done disinfecting and then bring the groceries into your kitchen.

If you are sick, you should not be grocery shopping. Instead, you can utilize grocery delivery services like Waitr.

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