I'll start with a disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. I have no expert knowledge about the coronavirus or COVID-19, the illness that results from it.
But I am someone eating takeout every day at this point (it's my job now, after all), exploring as many tips as possible on how best to do it and finding out what works best for the household to continue to support Dallas restaurants while staying safe.
Here are some helpful guidelines to follow, whether you're picking up dinner or having it delivered:
To Go In or Drive Up
Curbside is the only way to go. The county isn't permitting people to wait inside for their food, and there's really no need to go in anyway. Even if the restaurant limits it to, say, two people, that's one more random person you're coming in close proximity to.
When possible, pay over the phone or online before picking up. Obviously, most aren't doing cash right now. If they must take your payment when you get there, sanitize your card when you get it back (you're keeping those wipes in your car, right?) and resist touching a pen to sign. Ask them if there's another way, or sign with your own pen.
Where That Bag Goes
Peticolas got curbside set up quickly, encouraging guests to have their trunks unlocked so employees could place beer back there. No matter your car size, that's more distant than someone placing a bag on your passenger seat.
Once It’s Home
We're placing the bag on a table outside and pulling containers out of the bag there. We'll disinfect the exterior of packages with wipes, then throw those and the bag away in the trash outside.
We're also trashing napkins, plasticware, etc., that come with the food. (Sure, I'm normally the one never hesitating to shout about the use of Styrofoam or plastic. I'm certainly not one to trash them without using them, but we're not in Normal Time here.)
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Even after wiping things down, we don’t set containers near where we're eating. Throw that food in its own container once you get it. It won't look as pretty, but the integrity of the flavor remains intact, honestly.
Throughout this process, there's a lot of hand-sanitizing and hand-washing. Hopefully, that goes without saying. And while there's back-and-forth on whether wearing a mask prevents anything, it can't hurt to do so when outside of the house, right?
It's laborious and especially annoying to do all of this if you just want to get home and eat your pastrami sandwich. But it's better than getting COVID-19.