How to Get Food During a Pandemic: Delivery, Grocery Stores, or Restaurants?

by Chloe Chan                                               Is it safe to get food delivered to my house? What are the risks of visiting a store to purchase groceries? What is the best way to support restaurants amidst the COVID-19 crisis? The contagious virus is causing countless families to be quarantined, leaving everyone with questions about how exactly they should get their food, while taking delivery workers, personal health, and others into consideration.

If you would like to minimize your human interaction, experts are suggesting that delivery would be the ideal option. You would be exposed to the fewest people as long as the delivery worker leaves your food by the door and does not physically hand it to you.

No matter what method you choose, the delivery workers, grocery-store employees, and restaurant workers all have a high risk of transmitting or receiving the virus. Avoiding picking up food from a restaurant would still mean entering a public store or requesting a delivery, which increases the risks for everyone, whether it is being near many other shoppers or exposing a delivery worker to the Coronavirus.

On the bright side, as of now, scientists and medical researchers are reporting that the virus is not evidently spread through food. Joe Pinsker, writing for The Atlantic, reassures that “. . . wherever you get your food from, it’s most likely safe to eat.” Pinsker also advises that “. . . discarding the packaging that takeout meals come in and washing your hands after bringing home groceries . . .” will help minimize the possibility of catching COVID-19.

If buying groceries and making homemade meals is the most suitable option for your family, it is essential to reduce the number of shopping trips as much as possible. Tamar Lasky, an epidemiologist, recommends to try to consolidate your grocery store visits to once a week. It also helps to buy foods that can last a long time. This does not mean stocking up on instant ramen and canned meat; it is still possible to eat a nutrient-rich meal while having food in the fridge that can last for a long time.

Lisa Drayer is a staff writer for Cable News Network, a news site commonly referred to as CNN. She encourages people to purchase nutritious and easy-to-use foods such as beans and legumes, canned fish, nut butters, whole wheat sources of carbohydrates, oats, fiber enriched cereal, canned fruits and vegetables (sugar-free), dried fruit, and dark chocolate.

On the other hand, if you believe that getting your food delivered would be appropriate for your situation, you may be hesitant to put the delivery worker at such a high risk. But, as the head of the Food Labor Research Center of UC Berkeley, Saru Jayaraman, points out, “It’s essential for these workers to be able to survive.” Despite being endangered to getting infected, delivery workers still have a family to support and depend on their job to make a living.

For several food-delivery companies such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub, there is an option through the ordering process to leave delivery instructions. With this field available, you can contact the driver and instruct him or her on where to leave your delivery.

Many restaurants are struggling to maintain business as less and less people go out to get food. Nevertheless, you can still support these businesses by ordering delivery, which will keep the restaurant afloat through these uncertain times. For smaller restaurants at the brink of bankruptcy, many people are proposing to buy gift certificates which will give the restaurant enough cash to keep up with their bills.

A staff writer named Aliya Chaudhry, working for The Verge, analyzes the different types of businesses who are being hit especially hard through the Coronavirus season. She interprets that “Chinese restaurants have been struggling in particular, after misinformation and racism [leading] people to avoid eating Chinese food.” If you would like to help the restaurants suffering the most, Chaudhry identifies that Chinese restaurants and family-owned businesses are the ones to assist.

Whether it is delivery, restaurant, or home-cooked meals, the risks for you and others are generally equal. As long as you are cautious and aware of your actions, no one method is more ethical than the others.


  1. The Verge
  2. Computer Network
  3. The Atlantic






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s