Caring and Competent Representation Across New Mexico

A restaurant’s responsibility to its customers in the era of coronavirus

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2020 | Personal Injury

Delivering food from a restaurant to a customer’s home is not a new innovation. For a small fee, a family could stay at home and await their meal. Over the past several years, GrubHub and Uber Eats have blazed their respective trails in dominating an industry focused on the delivery of delectables.

Yet, with those conveniences came a certain amount of risk, whether it involved drivers operating their vehicles recklessly or poorly prepared food that resulted in illnesses.

Evolving business practices

Coronavirus has added to that litany of dangers. When the outbreak and subsequent government-mandated closures started, restaurants lost the option of serving food onsite. Many owners turned to curbside pickup while others went the route of “contactless” delivery to customers’ homes.

Still, this new way of doing business presents risks that range from illness-exposure to motor vehicle accidents. As with safety standards for driving, falling short of the highest standards of food safety can be catastrophic.

The damaged reputation of a restaurant is only a small part of the equation. COVID-19 increases the risks and raises the stakes to unprecedented levels.

Adapting to the current environment

Proper cleaning and disinfecting should be “top-of-mind” to minimize exposure of the deadly virus to staff members and customers. Restaurants have an obligation to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols.

Falling short of any of those standards can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • Employers failing to discourage sick employees from working
  • Sidestepping the use of hand sanitizer, disposable wipes and other cleaning products
  • Refusing to implement contactless deliveries
  • Coming in close contact with customers and ignoring social distancing requirements

Delivery jobs have been ranked among the top 10 most dangerous jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a deadly virus wreaking havoc nationwide and throughout the world, those dangers could transfer to customers in search of convenience.