How to order clothes online safely during the coronavirus outbreak

With all but essential shops temporarily closed for business to keep in line with the current lockdown measures, anything that can’t be obtained in a supermarket, petrol station or other essential retailer can only be purchased online to be delivered direct to your house.

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But with strict social distancing measures in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, many people are left wondering whether it’s safe to be ordering things like clothes online – no one wants to willingly invite the harmful pathogen into their house, nor do we want to put delivery drivers’ lives unnecessarily at risk either.

However, ordering online is one way we can help to keep companies in business during this financially turbulent time. Plus, with many of us looking for ways to perk up our quiet, sometimes lonely days, a spot of online retail therapy can be a tempting mood booster, not to mention that many of us still want to stay up to date with the latest trends, despite not going out as much at the moment.

So what’s the answer? Is it safe to order clothes online?

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The short answer is yes, as long as you’re sensible and practice careful social distancing and rigorous hand washing measures at all times.

Given that the main way to catch the virus is through breathing it in, receiving packages in the post is a very low risk way of contracting the illness. Research from the National Institute of Health found that while the virus can last up to three days on plastic or aluminium steel, it can only last on cardboard for up to 24 hours, making your chances of catching coronavirus from delivery packaging very slim.

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There’s no research to indicate how long the virus can live on fabric, but considering the normal length of the delivery process (and that these are generally even longer at the moment), several days should have passed since the contents of your delivery came into human contact, so again the likelihood of catching the virus this way is very low.

If you want to be extra cautious and the delivery isn’t urgent, consider leaving the package outside or in a separate room for up to 24 hours before opening it, but this shouldn’t be necessary as long as you don’t touch your face (particularly your mouth, eyes and nose) while opening the packaging, then discard of the packaging as soon as possible and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.

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When answering the door to delivery drivers, they will most likely leave the parcel on your doorstep before standing well back until you open the door. Make sure to give them enough time to do this so as not to put them at any risk in case you are unknowingly carrying the virus asymptomatically.