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Grocery, food delivery business grows because of COVID-19

HyVee grocery store in Columbia, MO
HyVee grocery store in Columbia, MO


The threat of COVID-19 has some people second-guessing normal tasks such as going to the grocery store or eating out, but there are several options to help people do those things.

Grocery and food delivery services say they are taking extra steps to protect their workers and their customers during the global pandemic.

Instacart, a grocery shopping and delivery service, now provides shoppers with disinfecting wipes and is working with its retail partners to provide in-store sanitation stations.

Kathleen Burns, a local Instacart shopper, said she also takes steps of her own.

“If I have gloves and things available I will use that. I make sure I sanitize everything that I possibly can, wash my hands frequently, practice social distancing, all the things that we're told to do," she said.

In a statement, Instacart said it's seeing the highest demand in its history and Burns said it shows.

"It's definitely been a lot busier," she said, "but I think that's a good thing because it shows people are utilizing the service rather than being out in the public."

Restaurant delivery is also a booming business amid the outbreak.

Boone County is under a stay-at-home order through late April. The order required restaurants to stop dine-in service and rely only on delivery, takeout (including curbside) and drive-thru service.

Columbia DoorDash driver Jordan Elliott said Thursday was one of her busiest nights with some wait times at restaurants exceeding an hour. She echoed Burns' reasons for working in delivery, saying it's a good way to help people stay safe.

"I do it honestly to make people feel safe," she said. "I didn't actually know how serious it was until I actually started and I had someone stop me and tell me I have a good heart for doing this."

Elliott said she takes steps to keep herself safe and healthy while delivering such as keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer in her car and washing her hands as often as she can.

DoorDash is also taking steps to keep its drivers and customers safe. In a statement, the company said it has shipped 1 million sets of free hand sanitizer and gloves to its drivers and changed the default delivery method to a no-contact option.

The company is also supporting local partner restaurants by not charging commission through April and "earmarking up to $20 million in merchant marketing programs to generate more revenue for restaurants that are already on DoorDash."

Similar companies, including Grubhub, are also working to help the restaurant industry stay afloat during these unprecedented times.

"We know these are tough times for independent restaurants because people are not eating out. Our mission here is to help keep their doors open through delivery and takeout. To increase cash flow and help restaurants pay their employees, we are deferring our own revenue from these local businesses – regardless if they're long-standing partners or new to our platform," Grubhub said in a statement.

Uber Eats is making similar moves by waiving delivery fees for more than 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada and launching daily marketing campaigns to encourage orders from local restaurants.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Brittany Wiley

Brittany Wiley joined ABC 17 News in December 2018 as a full-time reporter. She anchors weekend morning broadcasts and reports in the early evening during the week.


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