UK food delivery company, Deliveroo, will start providing a “no contact” delivery service in an effort to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus.
The company’s app will offer customers the option to request riders leave food outside their front door, rather than handing it over directly.
Will Shu, Deliveroo’s chief executive, said the company will provide restaurants with additional packaging bags and sealed stickers to show food has not been opened.
“My absolute number one priority is the safety of customers, riders and restaurants no matter what happens,” he said.
The company has also launched a fund to support riders who might need to take time off if they are diagnosed.
The fund will provide the riders with the equivalent of 14 days statutory sick pay for up to 14 days. Deliveroo riders are self-employed and are not normally entitled to sick pay.
With more people opting to cancel plans and stay at home to limit their potential exposure to the virus demand for food delivery has increased.
Customers have taken to social media to voice concerns over coming into contact with delivery workers during the drop offs if they are self-isolating.
Food delivery companies in the US are already trialling similar food delivery methods, while China-based delivery company Meituan has been checking the temperature of its riders and having them display it when they make drop offs.
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Deliveroo rival, Uber Eats, is reminding customers that they can already ask for their food to be left on their doorstep by leaving a special request in its app while ordering.
The UK government is considering setting up hotlines to ensure elderly people receive food packages if they are self-isolating.
Analysts predict that demand for food delivery will soar in Europe if governments put in place stringent measures to halt the spread of the virus.
“Early data from most markets impacted by COVID-19 suggests an uptick in terms of meal delivery demand,” said Hubert Jeaneau, an analyst at UBS.
“But this could change: what happened in China illustrates some of the risks with supply disruption and safety concerns impacting volumes.”