April 8 2020

How the Burlington Board of Health is Working to Help Ensure Pick-Up/Delivery from Restaurants is Safe

By: Rich Hosford

How is Burlington working to ensure that people can safely order from restaurants and support local businesses? 


On March 23 Governor Charlie Baker issued an order that all food and drink establishments cease serving customers in-house and switch to only delivery and/or take-out. The order has had a big impact on the restaurant industry, a big part of the Burlington economy, and since that time there has been a push to encourage residents to take advantage of the take-our and delivery options. The Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce created this list of all restaurants offering the services. And, as of last Friday, restaurants with a liquor license can also offer beer and wine with take-out and delivery orders. 


However, with so much emphasis being placed on staying home and social distancing some people might feel torn about ordering from a restaurant and either having someone come to their home or to pick up an order. 


So we reached out to the Burlington Board of Health to ask how they regulate businesses to ensure that either pick-up or delivery is safe during the times of coronavirus. 


“All food establishments follow food code requirements and the Burlington Board of Health requires that there be a certified food protection manager onsite at all times the food establishment is open,” said Burlington Health Agent Marlene Johnson. “Food safety is their priority.”


She said that starting the 3rd week of March when the orders came through from Governor Baker, the Board of Health contacted all the food establishments to find out if they would be open and if so, they reviewed the new standards with them. 


Those new standards are: Takeout and delivery only, more frequent hand washing, not working when ill and social distancing between employees and customers. 


“As the state orders change the Board of Health continues to reach out to all food establishments to ensure they understand the requirements,” Johnson explained. “If complaints are received the Board of Health investigates the complaint immediately.” 


She added that some food establishments are practicing no-contact pickup and no-contact delivery. Customers should visit the restaurant's website or call the restaurant directly for details. Other restaurants only let in a few people in at a time to pick up their orders to ensure social distancing. 


Finally, in regards to the safety around the food itself, Johnson pointed to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) literature that suggests the spread of COVID-19 through food is “highly unlikely.” 


“Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets,” the CDC writes. “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”


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