Earlier this week, Uber Eats announced that it would be operating as an essential goods provider in South Africa, and delivering groceries and food to customers during the national lockdown.
Given the high risk that the people making said deliveries would be taking while the lockdown was in effect, and the country continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, we decided to reach out to Uber Eats to find out what measures they had in place to assist drivers in this time.
“The health and safety of our community comes first, and we will do our best to support delivery people, businesses and our community during these unprecedented times. We have provided various tips for delivery people and drivers to stay safe during this time whilst they continue operating on the Uber app,” a local spokesperson explain to Hypertext in a statement.
“We remain in close contact with local public health authorities and will continue to follow their guidance to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As a business, we will also continue to take further steps to help keep our communities safe,” they added.
In terms of the measures that Uber Eats has put in place, for consumers safety recommendations within the app have been added to help raise awareness about suggested travel restrictions and social distancing with “travel only if necessary” in-app messaging.
Added to this is the introduction a contactless-delivery option which allows Uber Eats users to request that their meals be “left at the door”. Delivery people will also be able to request to leave an order at their door for a no-contact delivery, the company notes.
As for other measures for drivers and delivery people, Uber (and Uber Eats) says it will offer a one-time reimbursement for those who have purchased surface sanitisers.
Unfortunately, there is no mention of medical gear being distributed to drivers or delivery people.
The company has, however, committed to saying that if a driver or delivery person is diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority, they will receive financial assistance for a period of up to 14 days.
Whether these measures will be refined or changed should the lockdown period be extended, remains to be seen, but it is good to see that Uber Eats is taking some steps to assist those people carrying the burden of risk to deliver much-needed services.