#parent | #kids | Opinion | Is Food Delivery During the Coronavirus Pandemic Ethical?

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Mr. Rahman is one of the countless delivery workers across the country who face the agonizing choice between forfeiting their income and risking their health to keep Americans fed. It’s a choice that implicates people on the receiving end, too: Should you feel guilty about using delivery services to get groceries or takeout? Here are some questions to consider before placing an order.

From a personal and economic perspective, the answer is probably yes:

But when it comes to the health of the person providing your food, the answer is less clear:

  • When you order delivery, you’re making yourself safer by transferring risk to someone else. Does that mean it’s selfish? Karen Stohr, a professor of moral philosophy at Georgetown University, argues that people with the luxury of staying home should consider “whether we are bearing our fair share of the collective risk or whether our comfort is coming at too high a price to others.”

  • But at the same time, forgoing delivery may just shift that price to grocery store workers, who also have a high risk of exposure. As Mr. Pinsker writes, you could be infected and not know it, so, “Even if you opt out of delivery and spare a courier another potentially risky trip, leaving home to get groceries yourself still heightens others’ risk.”

As an alternative to thinking in abstract terms of right and wrong, try thinking in terms of consequences for public health: Given the options you have for getting food, which will minimize the total risk for every person involved, including yourself? If the answer still isn’t clear, that’s OK: As Steven Benko, a professor of religious and ethical studies at Meredith College, told The Atlantic, “We’re being asked to think so much more socially than we’re ever, ever asked to think.”

Their concerns are a labor issue, but they’re also a public-health issue: A delivery or grocery worker who doesn’t have paid sick leave and gets infected may try to push through their illness, in the process spreading it to other people.

In addition to tipping, you should also try to practice good social distancing, Ms. Chaudhry writes. Tip digitally instead of with cash, and use your own pen if you have to sign anything. Wilfred Chan, a writer and food delivery worker in New York City, also suggests coordinating no-contact drop-offs with the person delivering your food, if possible:

Mike, 18, from Poland: “It’s just incredible to me how many safer alternatives to Joe there were. Bernie, Pete, Amy, Liz, Tulsi, Andrew, they all certainly had some episodes where they were unpleasant, sure, but nothing sexual at all. Meanwhile, there’s the Democratic establishment who say they side with women and yet which candidate do they push? The one with a history of being creepy around women (the weird touching of girls on camera for example), of course.”

John, 72, from California: “The Times’s editorial board suggestion that the D.N.C. investigate the allegations against Joe Biden is a poor idea. Any investigation should be conducted by persons who are completely independent of Mr. Biden and Ms. Reade.”

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