As coronavirus makes its round and diners are wary of setting foot into restaurants and eateries of all kind, there has been a spike in home deliveries across the United Arab Emirates.
In addition, the Health and Safety Department of Dubai Municipality called on restaurants and food outlets on Monday to increase take-outs and home delivery orders with adequate food safety precautions.
This has prompted delivery companies and apps to take further measures such as contactless delivery by dropping off meals by the door. When they order online, customers can leave instructions as to where they want the order to be placed and give pre-tipping options to minimize hand-to-hand contact.
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Cashless payment, contactless delivery
Food delivery company Talabat said it had started taking precautionary measures since January. “For customers, we have added more free delivery options to support nearby restaurants and introduced contactless deliveries,” CEO Tomaso Rodriguez said in a statement. “When placing an order, you can choose a cashless option, which allows for a contactless delivery.”
He added, “We are liaising with governments and following their guidelines to introduce additional precautionary health and safety measures, as well as using our technology and channels to educate and raise awareness about these measures.”
Uber Eats also said it would allow users to request contactless delivery orders.
Zomato, another leader in the sector, said in a statement that it was continuously training and educating its delivery partners on the best practices of personal hygiene, as well as the proper method and frequency of hand washing and sanitizing.
“In case you want to avoid contact with our delivery partner, you can request Zomato Valet to leave your package at the door via delivery instructions on our app and the Zomato Valet will leave your package at the door safely,” the statement said.
Good hygiene practices
The World Health Organization (WHO) had issued precautionary recommendations regarding food safety, including advice on following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods.
Kareem Abughazaleh, Co-founder & COO of iKcon said the company has taken ‘extra precautionary measures’ in light of the spread of coronavirus.
“We shall remain hyper focused on our procedures and vigilant in the way we monitor our operations and will be responsive to any Dubai Health Authority or Dubai Municipality updates,” he said.