Americans Are Turning to Restaurant Takeout and Delivery In Massive Numbers While Self-Isolating, Yelp Says

As Americans hunker down and stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, data from the review site Yelp indicates that having food delivered has become twice as popular.

"Consumers are responding to fears of infection, social distancing recommendations, and mandated business closures by getting their food from grocery stores or directly from farmers, not from higher-end restaurants," wrote Yelp Data Science Editor Carl Bialik in a March report. "When people do turn to restaurants, it's overwhelmingly for delivery and takeout, not for dine-in options that until just a week ago were prevalent."

"The shift started when people were just encouraged to avoid crowds, and accelerated when restaurants in some jurisdictions were ordered to shut their doors and offer only takeout and delivery options," Bialik continued.

While more prestige establishments such as wineries and French restaurants have seen a consumer decline, other food-oriented businesses have seen an uptick in business.

Pizzeria delivery business has risen 44 percent over the past seven days while the call for deliveries from grocery stores has risen to 160 percent more over the past week.

In an effort to keep restaurants afloat during a time when many have been forced to close their dining rooms to avoid community spread of coronavirus, food delivery service Grubhub announced March 13 they would defer commission fees to affected restaurants.

"Delaying our revenue will increase the restaurant's cash flow, allowing them to pay their employees and weather this difficult situation," said Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney in a Friday letter.

"Local independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our communities and we must do everything we can to get them through this time of uncertainty," Maloney added.

"We are also working closely with government officials to ensure that kitchens stay open for pickup and delivery even when dine-in capacity must be shut down," said a statement sent to Newsweek on Saturday by Grubhub.

Yelp is expected to add a contact-free delivery option to their apps, which will allow customers to have their food left in a neutral area such as an apartment lobby or outside a door.

Newsweek reached out to Yelp for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Food delivery statistics have risen since Americans started self-isolating practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to data from Yelp. Getty

Some state governments are advising their residents to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, with California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing a shelter-in-place proclamation Friday.

Places of public gathering, such as dine-in restaurants, gymnasiums and bars, have been closed. Non-essential travel has been banned with the exception of caring for a friend or relative, exercising outdoors and purchasing food and prescriptions.

"You can still take your kids outside, practicing common sense and social distancing," Newsom said at a Friday news conference. "You can still walk your dog."

While not ordering citizens to shelter in place, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday designed to keep people self-isolated. Workers at non-essential businesses must stay at home.

Restaurants will remain open in New York as will pharmacies, delivery services and grocery stores. However, businesses that ignore Cuomo's executive order will be fined and shuttered.

"These provisions will be enforced," Cuomo said Friday. "These are not helpful hints."

Recent data indicated that New York had the most cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with 8,403 confirmed cases. Washington State has over 1,500 cases of coronavirus while California has 1,246.

As a whole, the U.S. has reported 19,650 cases of the virus. While 263 individuals have died from the infection, 147 people are listed as totally recovered.

Globally, 276,007 coronavirus cases have been confirmed with 11,401 deaths attributable to the virus. However, 91,952 individual cases were labeled as totally recovered.

coronavirus, map, covid-19, countries, world
A map provided by Statista shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus disease cases around the world as of early March 20. The number has since exceeded 258,000, of which more than 11,200 have died and over 87,300 have recovered. Statista

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.

Updated 4:04 p.m. EST 3/23/2020: This story has been updated with information from Grubhub to clarify that commission fees will be deferred, not waived.