Food News

Delivery Services Implement Extra Precautions Over Coronavirus

Let the groceries come to you.
Let the groceries come to you. Photo courtesy of DoorDash
On Thursday, March 12, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared a state of emergency and ordered the cancellation of all mass gatherings, effectively shutting down major events such as the Miami-Dade County Fair, the Miami Open, the MIA Runway 5K, and all large gatherings at the American Airlines Arena.

At the same time, the CDC is asking people to self-isolate if they suspect they have any symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or have traveled to countries or cities with outbreaks.

Miami restaurants and bars have been working to come up with new procedures for safe food handling amid this new reality, but there might come a time when it's best to just order in and watch Netflix.

In response to consumer concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, delivery services, as well as restaurants, have increased safety measures for customers. Some eateries are sealing bags, and many delivery services are providing options that allow for packages to be left at the door to avoid person-to-person contact.

Other delivery services are providing drivers with disinfectants and paid sick leave.

Expect delays when ordering online, and be prepared for substitutions. Delivery times fill quickly, so order early in the morning if you want your items the same day, and don't fret if your favorite brand of hand soap is out of stock.

Also, don't forget to tip your delivery person and leave a good review via the app. They're going out in the world so you don't have to. 

Here's a list of food and grocery delivery services, along with any coronavirus-specific information you need to know.

Amazon Prime Now. Amazon's food service is the primary way to get Whole Foods Market groceries delivered to your door. The service is free with an Amazon Prime subscription and a minimum purchase. Although there have been reports that the service is backlogged in Seattle, a recent online visit showed available same-day delivery window options, along with plenty of hand soap, in Miami. The website warns there may be delivery delays and inventory shortages.

Delivery Dudes. This service delivers meals from restaurants such as Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza and Shake Shack and groceries from Fresh Market and Milam's across most of South Florida. General delivery hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

DoorDash. In addition to delivering meals from fast-food giants such as McDonald's and Subway, DoorDash also offers local favorites like Harry's Pizzeria, Yambo, and Sergio's restaurant. Delivery is free on your first order. The company will allow your "dasher" to leave your order at your front door or gate and send a photo of its location through the app. Customers are asked to request that service in the "delivery instruction" feature on the app. DoorDash offers paid sick leave for its employees, so there's a padding of safety for both workers and consumers.

Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct delivers everything from seafood to craft beer and also offers kosher and organic foods. The company offers an option to drop your package at the front door. However, its website states, "Due to high demand, delivery timeslots are filling up faster than usual, so please plan ahead. Out of an abundance of caution, our delivery personnel will bring your order up to your door, but cannot enter your home at this time. Additionally, at this time, we will not be collecting bags. Please keep and reuse them or dispose of properly."

GrubHub. This Chicago-based delivery company offers delivery of goodies from Fireman Derek's, Dbakers, Wing Spot, and others. GrubHub drivers will leave your deliveries at your doorstep when you request the service in the delivery instructions.

Instacart. Instacart is likely the best service for groceries. It delivers from Publix, Aldi, Total Wine, and other stores such as CVS. The company recently implemented a policy of sick leave for employees. Right now, expect delivery delays; the company posted the following on its site: "Due to high demand delivery window availability may be impacted, and some key items may be out of stock." As of today, March 13, the delivery wait time is about 36 hours, as opposed to the usual two to four.

Postmates. Find essentials from Walgreens and 7-Eleven through Postmates, along with coffee from Starbucks, Panther, and Vice City Bean. Grab a Cuban sandwich from Three Palms Cafe or empanadas from Half Moon and tacos from Naked Taco or even Taco Bell. Postmates offers a no-contact option to drop off your package.

Shipt. Part of Target Corporation, Shipt delivers everything, so if you need a new TV for your bedroom, you can get it within a few hours. The company delivers from Target, Winn-Dixie, CVS, ABC Fine Wines, Petco, Costco, and Publix. Annual membership costs $99, but a 30-day trial is free. Shipt drivers will leave your package at the front door if you request it and are extremely responsive via text regarding delivery times and offering substitutions.

Uber Eats. Uber has issued a statement regarding coronavirus that says drivers and delivery people diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. Also, Uber is providing drivers with disinfectant to help keep their vehicles clean. By leaving a note for the driver in the app, Uber Eats customers can request that their purchases be left at the door. Find restaurants such as Michael Schwartz's Genuine Miami Deli, Jimmy's Diner, and Starbucks on the app.

Walgreens. As of today, March 13, the pharmacy chain is waiving next-day delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions and offering free delivery of any online purchase — no minimum amount required. Also, Walgreens offers real-time store inventory information online.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss