By Martin M.
As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread worldwide and gain more ground in the United States, it is beginning to affect almost every aspect of our lives. Not only is there a shortage of cleaning and sanitation products as well as pantry staples, but we are also starting to see a massive increase in the use of home food delivery services.
Food delivery companies introduce coronavirus-inspired contact free delivery
From contactless delivery to extreme sanitizing, companies are adapting to the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to stop the spread, while staying in business. That tactic is now moving to the states.
One issue that many people have with grocery and restaurant delivery is the possibility of contracting the virus from the delivery driver.
However, what supermarkets and restaurants are offering now is something called “no-contact deliveries.”
Grocery delivery services Instacart launched a new feature called “leave at my door delivery” in an attempt to give customers the option to drop off their order at the door rather than in-person delivery.
The company says they were already testing the feature in recent months. But noticed an increase in demand in the last few days that is now available to all customers.
And they are not the only ones. Postmates, Glovo, Deliveroo, UberEats, and DoorDash have implemented similar features that feature “no-contact deliveries.”
Customers can choose the leave at my door option, and upon delivery, they get a real-time photo confirming where it was dropped.
All companies provide services to customers when they wish, for health reasons or not.
According to the FDA, there is no evidence that food or food packaging is related to the spread of COVID-19.
UberEats shelved delivery fees for independent restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak, and Grubhub suspended commission payments for independent restaurants across the country.
Postmates, DoorDash, and UberEats are offering financial assistance to eligible couriers affected by COVID-19.
DoorDash is also assisting communities in need by delivering more than 1 million pounds of groceries and prepared foods to food-insecure households.
A DoorDash Inc driver in the Washington, DC area said his shifts had become busier.
One driver, who declined to be identified, said his pay-for-delivery, which generally increases during times of peak activity or bad weather, has also steadily increased as coronavirus cases have grown.
His average pay per order increased from about $3.20 in mid-February to $4.72 during the last week of the month, though it was $4.37 during the first week of March, according to screenshots from his driving statistics.
People are afraid to go to restaurants, he said.
“So they’re paying $15 to $20 delivery fees for a small fry and an ice cream scoop,” he said.
Financial assistance for sick employees
For delivery people and shoppers whose livelihoods depend on their health and ability to travel, concerns about maintaining employment, acquiring paid sick leave, and staying insured are paramount in case they get sick in general or are specifically diagnosed with COVID-19. Fortunately, most delivery platforms are moving forward to offer assistance.
Instacart offers all shoppers a sick pay plus 14 paydays for part-time and full-time employees receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis. Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Caviar, and DoorDash have implemented similar 14-day pay programs for sick employees.
Postmates will not only provide paid sick leave but will also cover medical expenses and copayments for COVID-19 affected mailings through its Postmates Fleet Aid Fund. Postmates is working with Congress to extend a sick leave tax credit to all of its eligible contractors.
Undoubtedly, it’s a precarious time to work for a food delivery service. However, delivery companies have responded to the evolving situation with new hygiene standards, as well as incentives for delivery workers and restaurants to promote continued use of their platforms.
For useful resources on coronavirus, visit the 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus data page and the directory of the National Association of County and City Health Officials for local health departments.