Coronvirus scare: As dining out becomes scarce, food apps focus on hygiene

Ashna Butani
Coronvirus scare, coronavirus cases, food apps focus on hygiene, delhi news, indian express news

Swiggy said their agents will leave food at the door, if specified by the customer.

From introducing an option for customers to get their food without physical contact with the delivery executive to ensuring hygiene is maintained by all employees, online food delivery companies are taking several measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zomato, Swiggy and UberEats claim delivery executives are continually being trained in proper methods of washing hands and identification of symptoms.

In an email dated March 11, Swiggy told customers about steps being taken by them to reduce chances of contracting the virus and Zomato followed suit.

A Swiggy spokesperson said: “The delivery executive can leave the food at the door, if specified by the customer. This option is not available on cash-on-delivery.”

While the companies said they are making available masks and sanitisers to employees, a delivery executive said, “We have been told to wear masks and use sanitisers but we have to bear the cost. Furthermore, they are not easily available these days.”

An employee with Swiggy said masks have already been provided in certain areas. However, he said, because of short supply in the market, it might take longer for it to reach the other areas.

Swiggy and Zomato state that delivery partners have been advised to self-quarantine themselves in case they notice symptoms and they will be supported financially in such cases.

Similarly, Uber announced that “any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance up to 14 days.”

Local eateries, meanwhile, remained empty even on a Sunday afternoon. With rumours going around that coronavirus could be contracted by eating chicken, restaurants such as Karim’s, famous for its chicken dishes, are facing setbacks. “Firstly, people are scared of eating chicken... Secondly, very few people are stepping out; the current footfall is less than half of normal,” said Parvez Ahmed, an employee at Karim’s in Preet Vihar.

Amar Jyoti in Sarojini Nagar, which serves North Indian food, has seen a 60% dip in customers over the last few weeks. “Very few people are visiting the market so fewer people are coming to the restaurant. Online orders have reduced by around 10%. We are taking steps to ensure that the food we serve is clean,” said restaurant owner Surjit Singh Arora.