Whether it’s that slice of pizza from the shop around the corner or that pho place you’ve been dying to try, Americans will likely be making some use of take-out delivery service to satisfy those cravings as the escalating Covid-19 pandemic forces restaurants to suspend dine-in eating indefinitely.
In New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio will sign an executive order on Monday that will limit local restaurants, bars and cafes to take-out and delivery orders only, effective on March 17. Los Angeles, Washington state, Ohio and Massachusetts have taken similar measures.
In Indianapolis, Ind., restaurant workers like Christian Willis are feeling the heat as business slows down after nearby events were cancelled because of the coronavirus. “They are holding off hiring until this clears up,” Willis told Observer. “There was a Five Guys two blocks from where the Big 10 was taking place. They [also] benefited from foot traffic into and out of the Pacers NBA games.” Willis is currently looking for a new job.
Major players in the food delivery industry, including Postmates, Uber Eats and Grubhub, are taking steps to protect consumers, restaurant partners and delivery personnel while keep business running.
Grubhub has waived commissions for restaurants on the platform in order to help them cope with the possible economic impact from the coronavirus. For those who are sick or being cautious about coming into contact with anyone they do not know, Grubhub provides the option in the ordering process for customers to contact their drivers directly to discuss delivery details, allowing both the deliverer and the recipient to decide what each feels most comfortable with.
Last week, Postmates introduced a no-contact delivery service “in an effort to make people a bit more comfortable during this time,” a company spokesperson told Observer. “We think that it is a way to make both customers and [delivery drivers] comfortable while making and receiving deliveries. Customers can now choose if they’d like to receive their orders at the door or curbside or prefer for it to just be left at the door.”
Similarly, UberEats now urges customers to use the “delivery notes” feature to have drivers leave orders at the doorstep to limit contact. The company also recently implemented policies to offer delivery drivers paid sick leave related to Covid-19. “Uber will compensate drivers and delivery people when proper documentation shows they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, or if they are placed in quarantine, asked to self isolate, or removed from the app for up to 14 days at the direction of a public health authority,” Uber told Observer in a statement.