Food app services, post office workers urged to minimize contact with deliveries

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TORONTO -- Foodservice app couriers and mail carriers are being encouraged to change the way they handle shipments as more Canadians self-isolate to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Uber Eats and Foodora say they've instructed their delivery employees to do what they can to minimize contact with packages. That includes accommodating special requests from customers to leave the meals outside their doors.

"We're working to inform customers about the ability to communicate with delivery people to give specific guidance on where and how they'd like deliveries made," Uber representative Kayla Whaling said in an email on Monday.

"We know this will be useful to folks looking to self-isolate. Uber (is) in close communication with public health authorities and as the situation evolves, so will our tactics."

Fellow delivery app Foodora says it's encouraging its drivers to follow Health Canada guidelines to stop the spread of illness, including frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer before and after each delivery. They've also introduced an additional measure that urges couriers to regularly wipe their delivery bags with disinfectant wipes.

Pizza delivery services, including Pizza Pizza, Boston Pizza and Pizza Nova, did not respond to requests for comment on any changes.

Carriers at Canada Post have also been given new safety measures for door-to-door deliveries, which include no longer requiring signatures for packages. The mail service says that will prevent using scanners and passing stylus pens back and forth at each stop.

Delivery staff will also use a "safe drop process" where they leave packages in the mailbox or outside the door when possible, or if it isn't, a notice with directions for the nearest post office.

There are exceptions to Canada Post's revised practices, however, since certain packages require customs fees, proof of identity or age or are certified deliveries. In those cases, customers will receive a card directing them to a post office. People under self-isolation are encouraged to make alternate pick-up arrangements with someone else.

A representative for Amazon outlined similar practices. It added that carriers are encouraged to sanitize vehicles with disinfectant wipes at the start and end of every shift.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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