Getting an Amazon delivery? 3 Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus on your packages
With the plethora of news stories about coronavirus contamination at Amazon warehouses (triggering walkouts by workers) and coronavirus staying alive on surfaces up to 96 hours, you need to be especially careful about what you bring inside your home when your online order is delivered.
Here are a few tips that will help you eliminate the possibility of getting the coronavirus from your deliveries.
Don’t interact with the delivery person
If you are outside in the yard when the delivery person arrives, simply ask them to drop it at a location at least six feet away from you. The same advice goes for anyone that’s delivering restaurant food or groceries to you. If inside, ask them to leave it at the front door rather than interacting with them, if at all possible. (Be sure to tip though! Or leave out a care package!) Some online shoppers have put up a note on their front door with instructions.
Both UPS and Fedex have updated guidelines and eliminated the need for signatures at delivery. Many restaurants and other businesses are also offering a no contact option, assuming you pay in advance on a credit card. We wouldn’t be shocked if many online retailers add that as a simple, check-box option at checkout in the near future.
There is an area for special requests on Amazon. To change that for your future deliveries, simple go to Your Account -> click Your Addresses -> Find your Address -> click Add Delivery Instructions. (see below)
You can specify where to leave the packages, a lock box or security code, turn weekend delivery on / off and add additional written instructions. You can also save these options for any address, ideal when sending gifts to your friends or family.
Waiting to open is your best bet
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 typically dies off in 24 hours when on cardboard surfaces, 72 hours on plastic / steel, & 96 hours on glass. If you have a package drop off in a lock box, just leave it in the lock box for at least a day. If you live in a low crime area and the package is somewhat hidden, just leave it on the porch.
Of course, if you live in an apartment building or just want to keep new packages away from your kids, pop on some gloves (disposable nitrile gloves if available), bring it inside (touching only the cardboard, no labels / tape), drop it off in a low traffic area of your home (garage, shed, guest room) and go wash your hands immediately. Wait 24 hours, then open up the cardboard box.
If you know your package contains plastic surfaces (air bubble packaging, plastic wrappers, etc…), look at your online tracking data for the shipment. If the package shipped three or more days ago and appears to have been sealed only once, you are good to open it up and remove your purchase. Any portion of the virus on plastic would have died off during transit. If it’s something that shipped overnight, simply wait out the full 72 hours.
When all else fails, disinfect everything
If you need to get into the package immediately (perishable groceries, hot food, medicine, etc…), think about all the surfaces the package will touch and limit that overall impact. One good strategy is to set up a temporary table (like a card table) and unpack all orders there. Something that’s easy to sanitize after you are done and large enough to split up disinfected items from the rest. This way, you won’t contaminate commonly used surfaces like the kitchen counter.
Sanitize the temporary surface with a cleaner that contains at least 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Blue painters tape / masking tape is useful if you have it (easy to remove), in order to create a dividing line down the middle of the table (but anything will work, I use a dog leash). Again, use gloves if you have them. Take everything out of the box and set it on one side of the temporary surface.
At this point, you can sanitize all your purchases one by one until everything is clean and on the opposite side of the table. The EPA has a long list of 350+ disinfectants to use against COVID-19, which contains common household cleaners from companies like Clorox. Keep in mind that you don’t have to sanitize anything that you can take out of disposable, sealed packaging.
When finished, dispose of all packaging. Think about all the surfaces / handles / light switches you touched along the way to dispose of the packaging. Disinfect all those surfaces, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, put away all your disinfected products and you are done.
Also, if you haven’t seen this already (21 million+ views!), here’s a fantastic video from a doctor in Grand Rapids, Michigan that details how to thoroughly disinfect all your groceries.