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Take Out Time: Steps to take for a safer pickup or delivery order

According to the FDA, there is no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through food and so far, no cases have been linked to food.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Takeout and delivery have become a popular option for meals in recent weeks, and people are eager to show support for small businesses serving food.

People may have even seen Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs encouraging the community to participate in #TakeoutTuesday and #TakeoutThursday to support small businesses.

Plus, according to the FDA, there is no evidence of coronavirus being transmitted through food and so far no cases have been linked to food.

But Harvard researchers said there is a growing concern of coronavirus spreading through preparation and delivery.

RELATED: 'They're really trying to still provide a service' | Mayor Jacobs starts takeout initiative to support local dining

So here are some steps to take to stay safe while ordering takeout:

First - Order from restaurants you trust. If you don't think the restaurant's bathroom is clean, their takeout probably isn't safe either.

Second - Order and pay for the food over the phone, online or in an app so money is exchanged. However, for security purposes, some restaurants may need a signature from you.

Third - Order directly from the restaurant. Avoiding third party apps which would involve an additional person to retrieve and deliver the meal.

If you end up using a third-party app, it's best to have them deliver your food to your doorstep and leave it there.

"Lessening the number of people handling any packaging that has been touched by people is prudent," Dr. David Aronoff explained, the director of Infectious Disease at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. "We don't know for sure that this is going to prevent transmission from a restaurant worker to someone at home, but it could."

Fourth - Wash your hands before and after handling the packaging.

Fifth - Throw away the containers and bags that it came in, and store any leftovers in your own personal containers.

"If you can take it out of the restaurant packaging, put it on your own dishware that you washed with soap and water," Dr. Aronoff said. "Or you can microwave it briefly, as well."

You can find a list of restaurants offering to-go services through Visit Knoxville or DowntownKnoxville.org.

RELATED: Some Knoxville bars & restaurants closing or limiting to carry-out and delivery service

WBIR reached out to the Knox County Health Department on their thoughts and suggestion to stay safe while getting take-out and delivery.

"Drive-thru and takeout options are still allowed under the Safer at Home Order. We recommend that food industry workers and customers still practice CDC’s social distancing guidelines when interacting and follow healthy hygiene protocols.

The best thing people can do to protect themselves is washing their hands. To further minimize risk, remove food from plastic bags and containers as soon as possible and dispose of bags and containers properly. Handling of packaging should be followed by hand-washing."