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Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Get Deliveries?

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With more than 50% of the U.S. population living under stay-at-home restrictions, companies that deliver food and household goods are inundated with orders. As they scramble to meet the demand, you may wonder if ordering in puts you or the people making your deliveries at risk.

The Question of Worker Safety

For some workers at least, the answer seems to be yes. The enormous flow of commerce may overwhelm companies’ abilities to protect their employees’ and subcontractors’ personal safety.

Reuters reported that delivery drivers for several companies say their jam-packed routes don’t allow them to follow recommended safety procedures, like stopping to wash their hands.

One driver for Uber and Postmates who showed symptoms of COVID-19 said he couldn’t qualify for paid sick leave without a confirmed diagnosis, but due to the testing shortage getting one proved impossible. He continued to work, Reuters reported.

Some workers for Amazon subcontractors told Reuters that vans and bins aren’t always sanitized between shifts, and they aren’t provided with personal protective gear -- sometimes, they don’t even have hand sanitizer. Amazon requires these things, but in practice individual companies may not be meeting their obligations.

Problems exist at the warehouse level, too. At least nine Amazon facilities have had employees test positive. “We are supporting the individuals, following guidelines from local officials, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of all the employees at our sites,” Amazon said in a written statement. The company has also announced enhanced protective measures to encourage social distancing and hygiene while at work.

Are Packages Safe?

Pair all these issues with a study last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that found the virus was viable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and even longer on plastic and stainless steel, and you may be tempted to cancel all your orders. Not so fast, says Joseph Vinetz, MD, a professor of infectious diseases at Yale University.

“Nobody’s gotten this infection anywhere in the world from packages,” he says. “You can detect the virus on cardboard with a molecular test, but that doesn’t mean it can infect you.”

The CDC also says you’re unlikely to contract COVID-19 from surfaces. And the World Health Organization says, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

If you’re still nervous, though, do what Vinetz does. “I love Amazon, I go to restaurants and get takeout, I go to the grocery store. I wash my hands, I spritz the outside of my reusable bag with alcohol or wipe it with a wipe, and that’s perfectly fine,” he says. “It’s much more important to stay away from people, keep 6 feet of social distancing. Stay at home.”

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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "Very clean and wanted to make sure I was safe. One person helped me along with the doctor so I didn’t interact with many people. Friendly warm and welcoming. Great report no cavities."
    Deborah Talley
  • "One of my crowns broke off… I was hoping just to get it glued back on, but unfortunately I had to go get a root canal and then go back to get a post put in and the crown back on. They were able to get me into a specialist the next day and then the following day back to the dentist. Entire staff very professional and caring. If you are in need of a new dentist go to GC Dental Arts you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for taking such good care of all of your clients. Highly recommend them."
    Chris Davis
  • "This place is top-notch I had my appointment I don't know if it's during or after pandemic started on May 20th. I was treated as if I was going into a surgical procedure. Went straight from my car to the exam room where I sterilized my mouth with a peroxide water mixture, and the hygienist was covered from head to toe to do my cleaning. They are a great place with a great staff and amazing doctors. Don't hesitate to book an appointment with them!"
    Gina Nowack
  • "Caring, honest, excellent service. Referred by a friend and have been very pleased with my visits since I became a patient last year. Highly recommend this office"
    Vivian Campbell
  • "he staff here was wonderful and made me feel right at home. They were quick and thorough and I was very pleased with the level of service I received. I would highly recommend this Dentist!!!"
    Jeff Roberts
  • "I have been with Gc dental arts for awhile now and every time I go it’s a great experience. The staff do a good job and Gc dental arts did very well with their preparations and safety during COVID-19 outbreak. I would highly recommend giving them a try."
    Zachary Judd
  • "Great service! Clean, honest and friendly. They do not overbook so don’t have to wait pass your appointment time."
    Kruskaya Urbina
  • "They did a really good job. Love the people and atmosphere."
    Deborah Judd
  • "The staff is too notch taking all the necessary precautions. It was nice to see then and be treated so well."
    Cristine Lybbert
  • "I’m one of those people who are not fans of dental visits but Dr Gulle and his staff are very caring and knowledgeable. Starting with the front office and his assistants, they insure you are comfortable and welcome. I just recommended him to my daughter and would highly recommend to others."
    Mary Beth Scanlon
  • "The staff was pleasant and professional. Was able to get the needed help in a timely manner."
    Joseph
  • "The hygienist was very good and explain everything."
    Odrys
  • "Thank you for the excellent service, as usual, by Gabby and Dr. Joe Gulle. Thank you also for the toothbrushes you donated for our medical mission."
    Valentin