The rules and advice about protecting ourselves from the coronavirus are constantly changing, and honestly, are kind of confusing.

The one clear thing, though, is that we should ALL be practising social distancing. Health officials recommend that we stay two metres from people while out in public – which certainly impacts our day to day lives.

One daily ritual that most Aussies are reluctant to part with is coffee. For many of us, swinging by the local cafe is a habit that’s going to be difficult to break. With all cafes and restaurants now closing their seated area, that begs the question: is it still ok to get a takeaway coffee?

Many cafes around the country are implementing measures to ensure people can stay safe while still getting their daily latte. A lot of local cafes have switched to card-only and have stopped accepting personal cups in an effort to stop the spread of germs.

Some are also encouraging the use of apps like Hey You, where customers order and pay through their phone instead of in person.

According to Dr Philip Russo, an expert in infection prevention, it’s fine to go out and get a takeaway coffee so long as you’re still mindful about social distancing. He warns against using cash or reusable cups.

“Tapping a card [rather than using cash], and using disposable cups avoid direct transactions between the patron and the staff.”

“Disposable [cafe-supplied] cups will only be handled by cafe staff, protecting them from any patron who may have the virus.”

On the other hand, Dr Russo says that if a cafe staff member has the virus but doesn’t know, YOU could catch it from THEM. And vice versa – if you’re carrying the virus, you could unknowingly infect the barista.

The only way to transmit the virus, Dr Russo says, is “by close contact with somebody who has the virus, or from contaminated surfaces they have touched.”

It’s for this reason he says social distancing is “crucial”.

“These rules are designed to protect you and the community. Keep 1.5 metres away from others, including the barista, don’t use cash or a reusable cup. Avoid large groups. Practice good hand hygiene, and do not go out if you are unwell.” Pretty simple really.

So for now, none of us has to miss out on our morning coffee provided we’re feeling healthy. Cheers to that!

Coronavirus: what you need to know

What is social distancing?

  • stay at home unless is absolutely necessary
  • keep 1.5 metres away from others
  • avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • use tap and pay instead of cash
  • travel at quiet times and avoid crowds
  • avoid public gatherings and at-risk groups
  • practise good hygiene

If I’m young and healthy, do I still have to practice social distancing?

Yes. While older people are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, young people are not immune. People that show mild or no symptoms may still pass the virus to others, particularly in the early stages of the infection, before many patients realise that they are sick.