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With the recent shutdowns of restaurants across the country ― New York City and Los Angeles are two of the major cities that have put a stop on dining in and have shifted to delivery and takeout — you might be asking yourself if it’s actually safe to order in.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus spreads between people, and it recommends cleaning your hands often and avoiding close contact with others. That’s how social distancing has now become the norm.
Dr. Rodney Rohde, chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at Texas State University, agrees that takeout is safe with some precautions, including removing food from takeout containers ― which he said are “high-touch surfaces” ― and using your own utensils.
Gina Buck, a general manager at Concord Hill in Brooklyn, told HuffPost Finds that the restaurant has seen a 90% drop in sales since social distancing measures were enacted in the city, leaving 15 staff members without work. The restaurant has transitioned to takeout and delivery to stay open, Buck said, and has partnered with Grubhub and Seamless.
“Right now, Guy Kairi [the chef and owner of Concord Hill] and I are running the show alone. We had to make the very difficult decision to do this in order to minimize payroll as much as possible,” Buck said.
With restaurants transitioning from dine-in to delivery, food delivery services have also had to shift how they’re getting your order to your door. Most, including Postmates and Caviar, have chosen to offer contactless delivery.
If you’re looking for ways to support the local restaurants you love right now, we’ve pulled together a guide to food delivery services that are now offering no-contact delivery. Take a look:
Postmates promises “anything, anytime, anywhere” — the company is mostly known for delivering food, but also provides groceries through Postmates Fresh and drinks in some areas. You have the option to pick up your order, too.
The company officially rolled out contactless delivery as a drop-off option earlier this month. Just pick that as your delivery preference before checking out, and your delivery will be left at you door. Previously, you had to meet your driver to get whatever you’d ordered.
Grubhub already allowed you to leave a delivery driver instructions on how to leave your order. But its ability to support contact-free delivery was put into the spotlight when Postmates said it would offer contactless deliveries.
Grubhub also introduced an initiative that’s supposed to help small businesses on its platform during the outbreak. The company said it will temporarily suspend collecting commission payments from impacted independent restaurants ― so, not chains like McDonald’s ― for up to $100 million. Restaurants sometimes have to fork over commission fees as high as 30% for third-party delivery sites like Grubhub, according to CNBC.
The move was made in collaboration with the mayors of New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Portland, Oregon.
Seamless is actually owned by Grubhub and has the same format for finding food-delivery options. It’s allowing for contactless deliveries, and also won’t be taking commission fees from independent restaurants at this time.
Starting this week, DoorDash is changing its default delivery method to a no-contact option “to minimize contact between Dashers and customers,” the CEO and co-founder of the company said in a press release. With that option, deliveries will now be left at your door.
Drivers can now choose, too, if they want to initiate a no-contact delivery, the press release said.
Before this, DoorDash didn’t have an official, nationwide no-contact option — it was only an option in Seattle, where you could request to have your driver drop off your order and wait for you to pick up by standing at least 6 feet away from you.
Restaurants that sign up for DoorDash now won’t have to pay any third-party commissions for 30 days, according to the press release. The company says this an effort to support local businesses.
Caviar works the same way that other delivery services do — put in your address and pick from local restaurants. Keep in mind, though, that Caviar currently serves only a few major metropolitan areas.
Caviar isn’t charging delivery fees for your first month on the service.
On March 15, Caviar put out a reminder of its no-contact delivery option, which allows couriers to leave your order in a designated spot and text or call you when it’s ready to be picked up. You can just add the option once you’re checking out and write in a text box where exactly you want your order left.