Delivery safety is a huge topic of concern during coronavirus.
To keep ourselves isolated during this time, we need to limit contact, and having things delivered helps us to do that. Whether it’s groceries, packages or tonight’s dinner, staying safe in your apartment is the top priority.
Here are ways to maintain delivery safety in your home.
While package delivery is on the rise, it’s still not up to seasonal high points, like during the holidays, according to Entrata’s COVID-19 Rental Housing Trends. As more communities fall under shelter-in-place orders, this could change.
That means ensuring delivery safety in two ways. You want to handle your items properly to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but also ensure your more frequent deliveries don’t catch the attention of a package thief.
Thankfully, there’s little risk of transmitting coronavirus through cardboard packages, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is quick to remind you to be cautious around certain materials. “Current evidence suggests that [coronavirus] may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.”
So, a good rule of thumb when handling packages is to wash your hands after you’re done. While opening them, make sure to avoid touching your face, and wipe down the surface where you placed the package once you’ve thrown the cardboard away.
For those wanting to take a more cautious approach, particularly if you’re in a high-risk group, Wirecutter suggests you dispose of outer packaging outside your home and then immediately wash your hands once you’re done handling the box.
It’s also important to note that carriers delivering packages are taking extra precautions to keep items safe as they make their way to you. This means less risk of contamination en route.
The more packages delivered, the greater the risk of theft. Think about past years, ramping up to the holiday season. Missing packages are a common complaint. The only difference between ordering for the holiday season and now is that what’s coming today is probably for you instead of being a gift for friends or family.
The good news is, with shelter-in-place orders, you’re most likely home more. You can get to packages as they’re delivered. At the very least, they’ll sit out for shorter periods. Other strategies to keep packages safe include:
- Tracking packages online so you know exactly when they arrive
- Making note of typical delivery times to your building
- Asking to install a camera at your apartment door or the entrance to the building for added security
- Installing a lockbox for smaller packages at the delivery site. You put the padlock in the box so the delivery person can lock things up safe until you can get to the package.
You can also talk with neighbors about watching out for each others’ stuff. If packages come to a central location, offer to drop boxes belonging to essential workers at their front door for added security. You’re already picking up your own stuff so there’s no worry about extra germs.
Delivery safety is also a concern when it comes to regular U.S. mail. Especially if your building has a central mailroom or you’ve decided to use a post office box, it’s important to stay safe. Social distancing is the key to avoiding germs when going into the mailroom. Peek in before entering to make sure there aren’t too many people there ahead of you.
If you can grab your mail while staying socially distant from others, go ahead. Try to touch only your mailbox and mail. Handle everything the same was you would a package. Make sure to wash your hands once done opening everything and discard envelopes immediately in the trash. You may also consider wearing a mask when picking up your mail as a courtesy to others. Masks help keep your germs away from everyone else.
You might also want to try to get your mail during off-peak hours. There will probably be fewer people in the mailroom early in the morning or late at night.
For those of us who don’t enjoy cooking on a regular basis, coronavirus isolation makes it harder to figure out what to eat. It’s a lifesaver that so many food delivery services are available and that curbside pick-up has replaced dining-in options. We can still eat all our favorite foods, with a little extra care.
According to the CDC, there’s currently, “no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” That means it’s just the packaging you should handle with care for delivery safety.
The trick is to have as little contact as possible between the delivery containers and the surfaces in your home. That includes your own clothing. If you can, remove any outer packaging before setting the food down and toss it into the trash. Take food out of the containers they came in and serve everything on your own plates with your own utensils. Toss all the packaging, wash your hands before you eat and wipe down any surfaces that came into contact with the delivered items.
You also want minimal contact with the delivery person. If they can’t come directly to your apartment door, designate an area within your building that makes it easy for social distancing. You can include any special instructions with the order.
Ideally, you’ll have a door between you and the delivery person. That way they can set the food down on one side of the door and step back, allowing you to open the door and pick up the food without contact.
Delivery safety at its best
It’s a relief that delivery is not a “no-no” during coronavirus. As a necessary alternative to going out, it’s becoming more essential than ever before. Delivered items are still safe, but it’s important to practice the right habits to avoid germs and stay healthy. This is easy to do with a little extra attention.