Is It Safe to Deliver Food to Family on Thanksgiving?


Sharing food is an important element of Thanksgiving for millions of families around the country. While the coronavirus pandemic means the holiday will look different, it's still possible to share dishes with loved ones.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cooking or preparing food and delivering it to someone is a very low-risk activity. Make it as safe as possible by using a contactless method to drop off the food: Leaving it on their front porch or outside their apartment door is a great way to ensure that the food gets to them without exposing either party to coronavirus.

Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, said that most food delivery, including takeout, is "absolutely safe."

"You don't have to worry about sanitizing the outside of the packages or anything like that," Winslow told TODAY earlier in November. "This virus is really transmitted by the airborne route. You're not going to pick it up from touching a food container or something."

According to the CDC, there is "no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19."

It is possible for someone to get the coronavirus from touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is "not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread," according to the CDC. Use proper hand hygiene to minimize the risk of this, being sure to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D., professor of medical psychology in psychiatry and founder of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, said that delivering food can help make it easier on families who will be apart for the holiday.

Lynell Rossin, a parent in California, told TODAY earlier in November that she is planning on delivering leftovers to local family and friends.

"I am going to cook the traditional Thanksgiving meal, along with some new recipes, set a beautiful table, and be grateful for what we have," Rossin said, noting that this is the first year that she and her husband will not see other family members for the holiday. "I will make enough for 8 - 10 people so we can share our delicious food. The next day, I will package up leftovers and drop them off to friends and family so they can enjoy the 'day after Thanksgiving meal.' Who doesn't look forward to that?"

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