COVID-19: How food delivery services are helping frontline staff

TORONTO — Some food delivery services are providing support to frontline workers who have become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CTVNews.ca asked companies including Loblaws, Walmart, DoorDash, Uber and HelloFresh Canada all a similar question: With the work of cashiers, shelf stockers and food delivery people becoming more essential, will those employees be paid more or provided bonuses for continuing to work during this pandemic?

Meal kit delivery service HelloFresh Canada told CTVNews.ca in an email Wednesday afternoon they are encouraging “any parents on their delivery teams to take paid time off to look after their families.”

“We’re requiring that our employees take paid time off should they feel at all strained or unwell,” said Jonathan Motha-Pollock, communications lead for the company.

Mama Earth Organics, a weekly home delivery service of local and organic food in Toronto, has implemented a “state of emergency essential service bonus” for every driver and warehouse employee working during the pandemic.

“For our average hourly employee, this will work out to an approximate 33 per cent premium to their current wages,” the company said in an email to customers on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile Uber says they will provide financial assistance for up to 14 days if someone who drives or does food deliveries is diagnosed with COVID-19 or are placed in quarantine by a health official.

“We know it’s especially concerning for people who drive and deliver with Uber. In these difficult times, their well-being is at the top of our minds, and we have a dedicated team working around the clock to support them the very best we can,” an Uber spokesperson said in an email statement on Wednesday.

DoorDash announced a “COVID-19 financial assistance program” for couriers who are diagnosed with the virus or quarantined in Canada, the United States and Australia.

Walmart and Loblaw have not yet responded to CTVNews.ca’s request.

Health officials have recommended social distancing or staying home in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the health crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that the federal government will spend $82 billion on direct financial help and economic stimulus.

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