A Foodora courier is pictured as they pick up an order for delivery from a restaurant in Toronto, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Food delivery services brace for COVID-19 with non-contact drop-offs and sanitizer

Feature will allow customers to request orders be left at front desks, with security or on doorsteps

When users of the Chanmao Inc. food delivery service log into the company’s app next week, they’ll notice a new option: non-contact drop-offs.

The feature — triggered by user demand and a desire to combat the recent outbreak of a novel form of coronavirus — will allow customers to request orders be left at front desks, with building security or on a doorstep.

“For the past couple of weeks, a lot of our customers have been writing in the notes saying, could you leave the order at the front of the door or could you leave it at the security or can I meet you outside instead?” said Ivy Chen, the co-founder of Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Chanmao, which services the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo, Hamilton, Halifax, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

The no-contact service is part of a slew of precautions food delivery companies operating in Canada have undertaken amid the outbreak, which has infected at least 60 Canadians and more than one hundred thousand more globally.

ALSO READ: WHO declares global emergency over coronavirus

With increasing numbers of Canadians working from home or self-quarantining after travelling to coronavirus hotspots abroad, delivery apps are bracing themselves for high volumes of orders, while facing pressure to up their safety protocols given that their couriers are handling food and coming into contact with customers.

Chanmao decided to make health and safety materials available to all of its couriers in the wake of the new coronavirus known as COVID-19, Chen said.

“We made sure all of our delivery drivers have hand sanitizers with them in the car, so that when they’re getting the food from the restaurant or after they finished a delivery, they are keeping good hygiene,” Chen said.

Latex gloves are hand for couriers to pick up from the company too.

At Uber Technologies Inc.’s Eats service, when couriers logged into their app to begin accepting orders in recent weeks, they were met with a message reminding them to wash their hands frequently, disinfect their vehicles often and if they feel sick, to stay home.

The company is also encouraging employees to make use of its Law Enforcement Response Team, which runs a 24/7 portal that helps with safety and public health concerns encountered while using the platform.

Uber has yet to detect any coronavirus cases spread through its users or couriers, but put restrictions on employee travel to China, northern Italy, Iran and South Korea.

ALSO READ: Skip The Dishes warns B.C. delivery drivers about ‘extremely violent’ wanted man

Meanwhile, competitor Foodora Inc. has set up a committee to streamline instructions and implement processes ensuring the health and safety of its couriers and customers.

“Our teams have already issued a series of informed measures, including work-travel restrictions to affected regions and a work-from-home policy for those who’ve travelled recently to areas with outbreaks,” spokesperson Sadie Weinstein wrote in an emailed statement to The Canadian Press.

“We’ll continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 and implement further measures, if deemed necessary.”

Food service numbers were down in China in January, when the virus hit the country hard, but its delivery data was up, said Vince Sgabellone, a food industry analyst at the NPD Group.

It’s hard to tell if that spike was caused by COVID-19 because delivery services in the country were seeing immense demand and growth before the virus.

Whether the same trends will be replicated Canada is also unknown, Sgabellone said.

“It is still very early going to suggest that anyone has or will make changes in the way they will frequent any retail outlets or food service,” he said.

“I have not heard anything. My customers are telling me it is business as usual and they are being careful and diligent as always.”

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Quesnel council moves to electronic meetings

Video of council’s first electronic meeting is now available on the City of Quesnel’s website

COVID-19: MP Todd Doherty updates community

‘The next 14 days are critical,’ writes the Cariboo-Prince George MP

COVID-19: All sports fields and baseball fields in Quesnel now closed

City trails and parks remain open, but users must maintain social distancing space of two metres

Letter to the editor: ‘Do what you can when you can’

Bert de Vink shares some insight into life with dementia

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Most Read