I am someone who lives off food delivery apps. My kitchen is more like a breakfast pantry and a snacks, fruits and salad place than a cooking zone for me. Don’t ask why, that is a topic for a chat someplace and sometime else, over breakfast perhaps.
When the lockdown around COVID-19 was announced, I had questions, several in fact:
- Will food delivery apps continue to deliver?
- Will my favourite restaurants be operational?
- How many choices will be available on the app?
- Will the slowdown in business or lack of staff due to the lockdown force the restaurants to close down?
Notice that my questions do not pertain to whether it would be safe to order takeaway during the COVID-19 scare and lockdown.
Maybe that is because of the way I am as a person – uber positive and not given to getting paranoid about anything too easily. Also, perhaps because I have been depending on food delivery for quite long. And I have a set of regular restaurants that I have come to trust and like.
I did however stock up on the typical bachelor boy staples of noodles, masala oats, cheese, eggs and other ready-to-cook packaged foods, for 10-14 days, just in case. Though, since I am not a fan of packaged foods (not healthy, blah blah), most of these are still unopened and unused.
Of course, I take enhanced precautions with takeaway food. I handle containers carefully, wash my hands after opening the food before eating, and again after putting away the containers after my meal. And I limit my takeaway orders to once a day for lunch, and not multiple times when I feel like a nibble or an indulgent dessert or snack.
I am happy to say that very quickly, the food delivery app I use has also stepped up to the challenging occasion. They have introduced several new safety and sanitation practices for their delivery staff, including daily temperature checks, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and providing extra packaging to protect food. They have continually shared these new practices with customers and that has helped add a sense of reassurance.
Not just with their own staff, but the delivery app moved quickly to encourage its partner restaurants to step up too and upgrade their own hygiene, safety and sanitation processes. Several restaurants have done so whether it is to do with their staff, the sanitation of their kitchens or the food preparation and packaging. These restaurants are specially highlighted on the app as ones that follow enhanced safety procedures, making me a happier, well-fed camper in these crazy, uncertain times.
Is this all foolproof? Perhaps not, but then there are no guarantees in life and neither in these COVID-19 times.
Rather than let paranoia and distrust become characteristics of our lives, I would rather the new normal have more positive features such as:
- The recently introduced enhanced staff, food preparation, packaging safety and hygiene norms become standard practice in all our restaurants and continue forever.
- Our heightened awareness and focus on personal hygiene through more frequent and thorough hand washing, not touching our faces, and sanitizing our hands whenever we touch anything outside our homes.
- All of us continuing to support small businesses including the many restaurants and neighbourhood groceries that braved the uncertainties and hardships of this period and continued to serve their customers, you and me.
- Being grateful for the choices we can make thanks to the privilege we enjoy, and sparing a thought (and providing support too) to those who are badly affected, displaced or distraught by the impact of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, stay safe, stay sane, stay positive and together we will come out stronger.
Image Credit: Indian Express
Ashok Lalla is an independent Digital Business Advisor. The views expressed are the author’s own.