Postmates to Offer "Non-Contact" Food Deliveries Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Image for article titled Postmates to Offer "Non-Contact" Food Deliveries Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Screenshot: Postmates

With the novel coronavirus outbreak continuing to spread in America, gig economy titans are facing increasing scrutiny for their lackluster directives to a workforce that can’t always afford to take a sick day. Several companies such as Uber and DoorDash have issued warnings to their independent contractors that echo precautions from public health officials—wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms, and stay home if you feel sick—which, while important advice, doesn’t exactly reflect the reality of the job.


Thankfully, it seems Postmates has gotten the memo a bit: The food delivery platform announced Friday that it’s introducing “non-contact deliveries.” Now when ordering food, customers receive a prompt at checkout to choose their preferred drop-off option.

“Customers can choose to meet their Postmate at the door, as they have before, meet curbside, or go non-contact and have deliveries left at the door,” the company wrote in a blog post, as first spotted by Recode’s Rani Molla.

It’s a tactic that big names in China’s food delivery market like Alibaba’s and Meituan Dianping began adopting early last month, per a Bloomberg report, to address concerns among delivery workers that the human-to-human contact required of their jobs might expose them to COVID-19, a disease that’s responsible for more than 3,000 deaths globally to date.

“We know there are always people who, for health and other reasons, might prefer a non-contact delivery experience and we believe this will provide customers with that option,” Postmates continued.

Hopefully, other food delivery platforms like GrubHub and DoorDash will soon follow suit. Or, better yet, cave to recent pressure from lawmakers and dole out some of the benefits required by existing employment law. You know, the same ones that gig economy behemoths have historically fought to skirt by classifying their workers as independent contractors.


On a lighter, non-coronavirus note, I for one am ecstatic to finally have my socially anxious prayers answered. Now I can brush off cooking and still stuff my face with zero human interaction. You know what that means, folks: Initiating full gremlin mode.



Did you know that the very idea of “can’t afford to stay home from work when you’re sick” is unheard of in Europe? Maybe. But did you also know that “given only about a week’s worth of paid sick days” is also unheard of there? Hm. It’s almost like American employers care more about making money than about the health and safety of their own employees and customers! But hey, capitalism is great and competition will always make employers do the right thing. Don’t like what they do? Go to their competitors instead, who... also... do that same thing... wait a second...