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Take Out Food

Learning the Art of Take-Out During COVID-19

Learning the art of getting takeout food is an important skill because it will make you feel comfortable eating take-out while supporting local food businesses.  Dr. Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Keck School of Medicine of USC recommends taking the following steps, even though they may seem a little weird at first.

  1. Call the restaurant ahead of time and ask the following questions:
  • Are they practicing social distancing in the restaurant with staff?
  • Are they washing their hands even more often?
  • Are they taking payment information over the phone or through an app like Venmo?
  • Will they bring the food out to your car and put it in the trunk for you?
  1. For home delivery determine the best way to drop the food off (which might be just leaving it on your porch and texting that it’s there).
  • Check ahead of time to make sure the tip can be added to your bill
  1. If your takeout food came in bags, remove the food and throw the bags out.
  • Set the food containers on a clean countertop.
  • Then, wash your hands.
  • Next, get some containers of your own — dishes if you’re eating it now or Tupperware if you’re going to store it for a few days — and transfer the food with clean utensils.
  • Don’t put the takeout containers in the fridge, because that could potentially contaminate the surface it’s coming into contact with.

(The transmission from containers is unlikely, but it’s a good idea to throw out the food containers, and wash your hands!)

4.Thoroughly clean any surface that has come into contact with the takeout bags or containers.

5.Don’t share food between everybody in the house and refrain from sharing drinks.

If you’re worried your food is somehow carrying the virus, throw it in the oven or microwave for a few minutes. Leaving food in the refrigerator or freezer for a few days will also kill the virus, Cannon said, because time does kill the virus.