As COVID-19 continues to spread and businesses close, our reliance on essential services, e-commerce, delivery of food, goods, and supplies has increased exponentially. Significant changes have been put into place to help slow this deadly virus. Several states have ordered a “no dine-in” protocol which leaves restaurants with take-out options only. As a result, several restaurants and companies are scrambling to keep their businesses up and running.
As of March 17th, Governor Charlie Baker ordered restaurants and bars to shut down, except for takeout and delivery until at least April 6th. This decision was made in order to help slow the virus. Many of these companies are seeking to hire more delivery drivers or third party companies such as Amazon, Post Mates, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, etc. to help them remain in business. Many consumers have turned to online shopping to avoiod going to stores. Each of these companies are monitoring and making changes based on the impact of COVID-19.
For Delivery Workers and Drivers
Here are some tips that delivery workers and drivers across all industries can keep in mind when working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Ensure that workplaces are clean
- Any surfaces, objects (phone, chargers, door handles, seatbelts) should be disinfected normally
- Require payments electronically to avoid contact
- Wear gloves and wash hands regularly
- Keep disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer in your vehicles
- Avoid entering homes
- Ask riders to maintain distance
Large delivery companies such as Amazon, UPS, and Uber Eats are making sure their employees and customers are being cautious and remaining healthy. Here are some ways those companies are doing so:
- Options for food delivery
- Customers can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to have your delivery driver to leave your food at your door.
- Keeping delivery cars, vans, and trucks clean
- Uber is providing employees with disinfectants to help keep their cars clean. Since supplies are limited, Uber will be giving supplies to the drivers in cities with the greatest need first.
- Assisting employees who have been affected
- Any driver or delivery person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been asked to self-quarantine by a public health authority will be offered financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. Many companies have introduced funds to support impacted workers.
According to a study conducted by a group including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could survive on cardboard and other delivery materials for up to 24 hours.
To be safe, here are some tips to limit your potential exposure when receiving deliveries:
- As noted above, have food deliveries left on the doorstep by using the messaging or notes features when ordering food. Most delivery apps will allow you to pay/tip via the app without the need to exchange money in person.
- Discard packaging right away and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after touching any packaging surface.
- For food deliveries in takeout containers, plate your food and discard the containers. After, make sure to wash your hands prior to eating.
- If you’re in a high-risk group, consider using gloves to open and discard the packaging. It also may be smart to spray packages with a disinfectant spray like Lysol.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently believes the virus is spread through airborne droplets and not contaminated surfaces, it doesn’t hurt to follow the precautions above until more is known about the spread of the disease.
For more advice for the public regarding the coronavirus disease, please visit the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public