Are precautions taken by home delivery services in S'pore enough to ensure they don't spread virus?

GrabFood riders in Yishun, on April 20, 2020.
GrabFood riders in Yishun, on April 20, 2020.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

With dining-in not allowed and people urged to stay at home as part of extended circuit breaker measures, many have turned to food delivery services. The Sunday Times looks at measures in place to ensure the booming business does not become a weak link in the fight against Covid-19.

Food delivery firms take steps to guard against infections

At least four GrabFood delivery riders have been suspended and more than a hundred others warned for failing to comply with safe distancing rules.

Grab disclosed the numbers of riders penalised in a note to delivery personnel earlier this month that has been seen by The Sunday Times.

It told riders that they must wear a face mask at all times, minimise contact with others and not gather in groups. Its staff also remind riders of the measures.


Delivery riders taking precautions, but worry about earnings

Food delivery rider Clare Tan has been working on an almost daily basis since last September but her daily routine has changed significantly in recent weeks.

The Deliveroo rider, who works for about three hours a day, now sanitises her hands and mobile phone regularly and cycles around with a surgical mask on.

Ms Tan, 34, also delivers more orders without seeing the customers, as more people embrace the idea of contactless delivery as a precaution against Covid-19.


Staggered breaks, less chatter as F&B firms take precautions

Food and beverage outlets are taking every precaution - from staggered lunch breaks and frequent hand washing to cutting down on chatter - to keep staff and customers safe from Covid-19.


As the demand for food deliveries continues to rise owing to the coronavirus outbreak and Singapore's safe distancing measures, eateries and restaurants are also making sure that staff and delivery crew have almost no physical interaction, and adhere to government guidelines.

While all restaurant staff must now wear masks, other precautions taken include placing orders at a designated location for delivery riders to pick up, and having different entrances - one for delivery people and another for customers.


From delivery crew to chefs, zi char stall owner plays it safe

At hawker stall Hai Yan BBQ Seafood, delivery crew wait patiently several metres from the stall for their orders to be ready.

Orders are packaged and placed at different tables in front of the stall, depending on the area of Singapore they are destined for.

The zi char stall, located at Newton Food Centre, receives about 16 delivery orders each day.


Home bakers cannot operate under circuit breaker rules

Home bakeries are not allowed to operate under the enhanced circuit breaker measures, according to the Housing Board website.

It states that home-based businesses have to cease operations if they require the owner to leave the residential premises or have third-party services deliver the goods, among other measures.

Customers are also not allowed to collect the goods themselves.