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by Abigail Van Buren

Questionable Hygiene Casts Shadow Over Lunchtime Get-Togethers

DEAR ABBY: My friend and I befriended the most adorable older couple. They invite us over and they love lunching together. They are terrific company, and we always enjoy our time with them.

During our last visit, they were cooking lunch, and it was apparent that they don't wash their hands when preparing food. Because of the coronavirus, we aren't comfortable eating at their house anymore. We would be happy to bring something over, but they are set in their ways and like to prepare their own food. We tried saying we can't stay for lunch, but once we are with them, they start putting out the food. What advice can you give us? -- STAYING SAFE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR STAYING SAFE: Go online and check to see whether you can pick up the coronavirus from food. One would think that if the food is hot, the virus wouldn't survive the cooking process. Have you considered inviting them to your place instead?

If you think this charming couple's food puts you at risk of catching something unpleasant -- like salmonella -- the next time you are invited, lower your risk by bringing food for all of you. If they argue, tell them you are reciprocating their hospitality, which may have been one-sided if you have eaten there often. However, if they question you further, tell them the truth. While it may cool the relationship, it will increase your chances of staying healthy.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors | Health & Safety | Covid 19