We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a lot has changed over the past several months. One of those things is the increase of home deliveries. With those home deliveries come a lot of questions about how we should safely unpackage our newly arrived goods. Should every package be wiped with sanitizer? Should we wait a few days before we open the package? Whether we are getting packages, mail, freshly prepared food or groceries, we want to optimize our family’s protection by following the guidelines.
Of course, everyone’s comfort level is different, but if you follow the basic guidelines, you are likely to be in good shape. Here are a few basic guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, both of whom agree that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through mail and packages is very low.
Packages and Mail Deliveries
While it is possible for the virus to stay on packages for several hours, longer if it is cardboard, this is not considered a risk factor by the CDC or WHO. Most delivery services, including FedEx, USPS, and UPS are providing gloves to their employees for their own protection. Here are a few tips for handling packages and mail as they come into your home:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling packages and mail.
- Wipe down surfaces that were used for opening packages.
- Remove contents of the package and dispose of the packing materials immediately.
If you have available space and want to be extra cautious, you can leave packages and mail untouched for 24 hours and then follow the same protocol when opening. You can also use gloves when opening packages and then dispose of them if you are still concerned.
The CDC also states that there have been no reports that COVID-19 has been transmitted by food packaging or prepared food deliveries. However, as with other viruses, it is possible for the virus to survive on objects or surfaces that people have handled. Therefore, it is important to follow good hygiene practices like wiping off countertops often and thoroughly washing your hands. Here are additional safety guidelines to help minimize potential risks:
- Wash your countertops and hands before and after handling food containers or food.
- Removed prepared food from containers and dispose of those containers immediately.
- If using reusable shopping bags, wipe down the handles completely after shopping.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling food.
For additional peace of mind, some health organization recommend wiping fresh food containers with a sanitizing wipe or a paper towel sprayed with cleaners. All produce should be washed under running water before consuming, but if you want to take extra precaution you can use a mild soap solution as well.