Plus, some delivery companies take steps to lessen financial impact on their workers.

By Tim Nelson
Updated March 11, 2020

UPDATE: March 17, 2020
As of March 17, DoorDash has announced that it will default to no-contact deliveries, and customers will have to opt out if they wish to have their deliveries handed off (literally) to them. In order to help restaurants, DoorDash independent restaurants who sign up to participate in DoorDash will pay zero commission fees for 30 days. Additionally, the company will add 100,000 independent restaurants to DashPass for free, which lets subscribers order while paying $0 in delivery fees.

With Coronavirus fears now fully inescapable, plenty of reasonable people have made the choice to stay home and enjoy as little contact with the outside world as possible. But even if you work from home all day or take your college courses online, that doesn’t mean that you instantly stop needing food.

Luckily for both deliverers making the rounds and hungry folks trapped at home, delivery services like Instacart and Postmates recently introduced new options that allow for a no-contact delivery, letting food get to where it needs to go without the heightened risk of transmitting infection.

If you update your version of the Postmates app, you’ll notice a “drop-off” option that offers precisely what it sounds like: a way to get your food where there’s zero interaction between you and the delivery person. Instacart, known for delivering groceries and the like for those more inclined to cook at home amidst an ongoing global health crisis, has its own version of this option which has apparently been in the works for a while. According to Grubstreet, the company recently noted a spike in customers who wanted to use this delivery method.

That’s great for customers, but what about workers who rely on making deliveries to get by, potentially at the expense of their health? Instacart said it would provide up to 14 days of paid leave to part-time employees and “full-service shoppers” who are either diagnosed with COVID-19 or are placed in mandatory isolation or quarantine. DoorDash will provide “up to two weeks of assistance” for similarly classified workers according to The Verge, but no specific details were made available. Postmates has initiated a “Fleet Relief Fund,” which a press release says will “enable couriers to take proactive and preventive personal health care steps by covering costs for medical check-ups, regardless of whether the courier has been diagnosed or quarantined.”

In all likelihood, this whole situation is going to get worse before it gets better. That means restaurants and those who deliver their food will be put in a tougher spot alongside cooped-up customers. At least these no-touch measures will make it possible to still make and receive deliveries without increasing the risk of Coronavirus infection. Whether or not we can all stay healthy and stave off boredom while locked up at home is a different story entirely.