Delivery startups set up contactless delivery options as coronavirus fears grow in US

Postmates announced today it would be adding a “non-contact delivery option,” for those concerned about COVID-19 exposure from workers bringing them food. Instacart set up something similar earlier this week, announcing sales were 10x’s higher this week over last due to coronavirus concerns and rolling out the “leave it at my door” option for customers concerned about coronavirus.

This flu-like virus has already infected nearly 100,000 people worldwide, killing thousands of those with the disease, including one man so far in the Bay Area, the hub of Silicon Valley and the startup world.

Similar services starting offering this contactless option in China last month, where COVID-19 took a stronghold and started spreading from Wuhan. The majority of stores in the area had closed shop, leaving delivery as most people’s only option. The contactless measure seemed aimed at keeping everyone safe and minimizing exposure.

Lmaoo postmates gets it

— Teal (@teal_xo) March 6, 2020

While plenty of customers have praised this effort, not everyone is pleased, believing this move is just passing the buck to low-wage workers.

This new option from Postmates is the most cynical thing I’ve seen today. Come on, cook at home instead of moving risk down the inequality ladder…

— Romain Dillet ? (@romaindillet) March 6, 2020

Postmates counters this argument, telling TechCrunch the move is beneficial to both customers and couriers. “Community health and safety is paramount at Postmates, and we have shared precautionary CDC guidance with our Postmates,” a Postmates spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Customers have an option to designate the drop-off of item without contact; and will continue to encourage employees, merchants and consumers to follow preventative measures. While we are operating with business as usual, we are tracking the situation closely and will help provide the resources necessary to mitigate increased risks.”

For those who like this option and want to use it with your next Postmates order, you just order as normal. You’ll then be prompted to select your delivery preference before checking out. The option is similar with your Instacart order.

While we’ve so far only heard this option is being offered by these two delivery startups, we’re likely going to see more contactless rollouts as coronavirus fears continue to change our shopping habits in the next couple of months.

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