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Emory University epidemiologist says takeout food is good to go during pandemic

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Emory University epidemiologist says takeout food is good to go during pandemic

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Frances Ennis leaves Leon’s Full Service with food for her family. “We are trying to select a few local businesses to support in a safe way. Our children haven’t been out of the house in 9 days.” She said.


Decatur, GA – The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered the dining rooms in restaurants and the ones that haven’t closed completely are offering takeout meals to customers.

But people still have questions about whether picking up takeout or getting delivery food is a safe thing to do as the virus spreads.

Emory University epidemiologist Carlos del Rio told reporters recently that takeout food is safe as long as certain precautions are followed.

“I personally believe it’s safe and in fact, I’m doing it myself,” he said. “We want to support our restaurant industry.”

He said contact-free delivery is the ideal choice. Delivery services like Uber Eats or Postmates allow customers to order food and couriers to leave the food at the front door. He said people should take the food inside and put it on a clean plate. He then advised cleaning utensils and washing your hands before eating.

Local restaurants say they are taking precautions on their side of the transaction as well.

Waller’s Coffee Shop said, “We are set up outside as a drive-through/walk-up service. We are not allowing people to gather closer than 6 feet and encourage a quick transaction. We as a staff are constantly washing our hands, sanitizing equipment and surfaces, and being mindful to not touch our faces.”

Paolino recently opened in Oakhurst. The timing was not great, due to the pandemic. But owner Shane Mixon says the restaurant is open for business.

“Paolino is offering complete no contact pickup,” Mixon said. “Staff puts all food and beverage items in insulated and sterilized containers with customer’s name on it. We offer gloves and disinfectant wipes for them to use for pick up as well as gloves attached to order to use when they unpack items at their destination. Our staff then wipes down the containers with a CDC approved disinfectant after each customer walks a safe distance away. They order and pay for all items online (phone orders allowed with manual credit card transactions over the phone only). The staff wears gloves at all times and we keep all surfaces clean and disinfected.”

Other restaurants said they are following the CDC guidelines for keeping their kitchens safe for customers.

For a list of restaurants doing takeout orders during the pandemic, click here.

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