Coronavirus: 1m safety distance, free masks among precautions by food delivery firms

The steps include encouraging riders to take their temperatures and letting them drop off food without having physical contact with customers PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The major food delivery companies - GrabFood, Deliveroo and foodpanda - are stepping up precautionary measures to help contain the escalating coronavirus outbreak.

The steps include encouraging riders to take their temperatures and letting them drop off food without having physical contact with customers.

From Tuesday (March 17), Deliveroo customers will be able to opt to pick up their food orders from a thermal bag placed on the floor while the delivery rider waits at least 1m away.

And people ordering via GrabFood can alert Grab via its feedback channels of any food delivery rider who seems unwell. Riders can do the same if they encounter customers who appear ill.

Anyone who is repeatedly flagged as showing respiratory syndromes will be asked to see a doctor and get medical clearance before they can continue using the GrabFood platform.

Many of these measures were already in place before a GrabFood rider - believed to be the first case of an infected food delivery rider here - was confirmed with Covid-19 on Friday (March 13).

Grab, which runs the largest food delivery operator in GrabFood, said: "All partners are not allowed to come in contact with the food; they are instructed not to touch or open the food containers.

"All partners are advised to measure their temperature at least twice a day, practice good hygiene and to not work if they present any forms of respiratory symptoms, or are generally feeling unwell."

Deliveroo said it has been giving out face masks to riders at designated locations.

It added: "If a rider does feel an area is high risk and they wish to not do deliveries, they can request to cancel any booked deliveries without penalty."

Foodpanda has also been distributing free face masks and hand sanitisers to riders and made it compulsory for them to have these items on shift.

In addition, its riders must wash or sanitise their hands before and after shifts and have been asked to sterilise their delivery bags at least twice a day to prevent any contamination in the delivery process.

Grab and Deliveroo will provide financial support for riders who are infected by the coronavirus or have to be isolated as a precautionary measure.

Labour MP Ang Hin Kee said such financial support would help to discourage unwell people from working.

He added: "It is essential that platform operators do right by clients and riders.

"Responsible companies extend their care and concern beyond their staff and to others contracted with them. I would urge that, by demonstrating such concerns, more will use their platforms."

LISTEN TO HEALTH CHECK PODCAST

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.