TORONTO — Food service couriers and mail carriers are being encouraged to change the way they handle shipments as more Canadians self-isolate to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Uber Eats, Foodora and Skip the Dishes all say they've instructed their delivery employees to do what they can to minimize or eliminate contact with packages. That includes accommodating special requests from customers to leave the meals outside their doors.
"We're working to inform customers about the ability to communicate with delivery people to give specific guidance on where and how they'd like deliveries made," Uber representative Kayla Whaling said in an email on Monday.
"We know this will be useful to folks looking to self-isolate. Uber (is) in close communication with public health authorities and as the situation evolves, so will our tactics."
Fellow delivery app Foodora says it's encouraging its drivers to follow Health Canada guidelines to stop the spread of illness, including frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer before and after each delivery. They've also introduced an additional measure that urges couriers to regularly wipe their delivery bags with disinfectant wipes.
Skip the Dishes has suspended cash payments for food deliveries to reduce contact with surfaces, according to a company statement.
Door Dash noted that no-contact delivery can be requested by customers and that its delivery staff also have the option of requesting delivery without contact.
Pizza delivery services, including Pizza Pizza, Boston Pizza and Pizza Nova, did not respond to requests for comment on any changes.
Mail carriers at Canada Post have also been given new safety measures for door-to-door deliveries, which include no longer requiring signatures for packages. The mail service says that will prevent contact from using scanners and passing stylus pens back and forth.
Delivery staff will also use a "safe drop process" where they leave packages in the mailbox or outside the door when possible, and if not, a notice with directions for the nearest post office.
There are exceptions to Canada Post's revised practices, however, since certain packages require customs fees, proof of identity or age or are certified deliveries. In those cases, customers will receive a card directing them to a post office. People under self-isolation are encouraged to make alternate pick-up arrangements.
A representative for Amazon outlined similar practices. It added that carriers are encouraged to sanitize vehicles with disinfectant wipes at the start and end of every shift.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2020.
David Friend, The Canadian Press