When people return to work, delivery services may become critical as social distancing standards remain in place.
By Siet Wright
During the coronavirus pandemic, people have learned to rely on delivery apps to meet their needs while at home. Ensuring personal safety has become a top priority and apps have played an important role in that peace of mind. Online versions exist for nearly everything now. One can get an education online, talk to a therapist, attend a virtual fitness class, attend meetings, shop and more. In the information age, people with means can stay safely home, and allow companies to deliver goods and services in a safe manner. When-stay at-home mandates are lifted, will people still need to rely on these services to feel safe?
State governments are deciding when to slowly start resuming business as usual, but that may cause a second spike in COVID-19 infections. Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has warned the media that rushing back to normal life could be disastrous for public health. Flattening the curve is an on-going process that will need longer than a month to work. For some people, the economy cannot handle a continuation of closed businesses. For other people, it is far too soon to consider re-opening businesses right when social distancing practices were beginning to work.
Will there be a return to normal?
A recent Harvard study shows that with current efforts, social distancing may need to continue through 2022. This means people will need to re-think what business as usual means. In the rush to return to normal, people may be forgetting there might not be anything normal soon.
According to The Harvard Crimson, researchers modeled potential scenarios for the next few months based on current social distancing practices. The researchers wanted to investigate whether rates of infection would be effectively slowed by just one cycle of social distancing. Based on their models, the researchers found this assumption is likely not the case. The majority of the public is certain to feel disappointed by these findings and turn to technology to gain some semblance of maintaining the status quo.
Delivery apps meet an important need in isolation
The Washington Post published an article in April stating a delivery driver reported receiving 25-30% more orders in the past month. This suggests that people feel safer having food delivered directly to them, rather than risking exposure in stores and restaurants.
“I don’t think food delivery services are particularly risky,” said Amesh Adalja, M.D., a physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to The Washington Post. “It’s a good way to do social distancing, which is especially important for the elderly.”
Delivery apps are meeting the needs of many of America’s workforce who are under stay-at-home orders. Now, food delivery services are moving to contactless drop-off to minimize the chance of spreading the virus. This is in recognition of the worry people feel about encountering other people in a pandemic.
This kind of conscious marketing to validate people’s concerns could potentially create life-long loyal customers after the pandemic is over. Companies that rise to the occasion and help to alleviate the stress of life in a pandemic are poised to succeed in a struggling economy.
Unemployment rates skyrocket
According to a PBS News Hour poll, 18% of people report that someone in their household has recently lost employment because of the pandemic. This means that millions of people will be looking for ways to earn money.
The global economy has come to a near stand-still in less than 60 days. With millions of people out of work in the U.S., there will be more people seeking employment when life gets back to normal. Side gigs like delivering food could be the answer to that problem.
People will be looking for gigs to help make ends meet, like delivery services. With daily activities shut down indefinitely, people who can stay home are using more delivery services than ever before.
Reliance on delivery services has become invaluable to the public in the coronavirus crisis. When a return to “normal” occurs, people may still use apps to distance themselves. Some people feel safer having food delivered rather than going out and possibly risking exposure in public.
Millions of people have recently become job-less, but delivery apps may be able to provide people with part-time jobs and increase the efficiency of enforcing stay-at-home orders. There won’t be a quick return to normal, but a slow trickle to something more normal.
Some people will continue to work from home, and some may even have a lingering fear of public places and being around large groups of people. In that case, it’s imperative that a safety net of delivery apps is in place to help people retain some sense of normal.