As you know, we are in the middle of a global pandemic that is changing many aspects of our lives. It's important that everybody do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting their social contact, washing hands often, and monitoring for symptoms. If you are at low-risk of having a severe reaction to the virus, observing these guidelines can save lives by slowing down the virus' spread and preventing a spike in cases that could overwhelm our healthcare system's ability to provide life-saving care.
I believe that using our coffee delivery system is relatively safe, however, please consider the following risk factor:
When we deliver your coffee we are also picking up empty jars. On a typical route we visit around 20 houses. If someone on our route has the virus, it is conceivable that the virus could be living on the surface of their empty jar, which in theory could transfer to the hands of the delivery person and then to your full coffee jar. Even though all jars get washed and sanitized before re-use, there could technically be a transfer of germs on the exterior surfaces. The risk here seems to be low, but you may choose to protect yourself by sanitizing your jar before bringing it in the house. The CDC gives the following information: "Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures." (source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#anchor_1584386215012)
If you are one of our coffee subscribers and believe that anyone in your house may have contracted the virus, please let me know so that we can take extra precautions when handling your empty jars.
I've been asked if I think the outbreak could cause my business to shut down and some customers are stocking up on coffee just in case. First of all, it's fine if you want to stock up (we have plenty of green coffee supply and you aren't "clearing the shelf" for the next customer as at the grocery store). My opinion though is that Steel Bridge Coffee will be able to remain in business through the pandemic because coffee is a common grocery-store item and grocery stores are considered essential. However, I admit that if I were to personally develop virus symptoms it would be difficult to maintain the usual level of operation, since we are not adequately staffed to respond quickly to that.
I'm keeping myself safe and am taking extra precaution to keep your coffee safe. It's important to consider the risks of coffee delivery, however, since the virus spreads primarily through person-to-person respiratory droplets, I believe it to be safer than shopping at a grocery store.
Please feel free to comment below with any questions, comments or corrections to this post. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org