Instacart said it has forged a new partnership with Doctor on Demandto offer free access to COVID-19 screenings and virtual medical consultations to its team of shoppers. Additionally, the online shopping platform is enacting a new health and safety measure that calls on all of its shoppers to wear face masks in stores and when they come in contact with customers, while asking customers to do the same.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we remain deeply committed to evolving our health and safety measures to support all members of the Instacart community,” said Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran, in a statement. “We want to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to quickly gain access to quality healthcare as they may need it.”
Ganenthiran also addressed the company’s new mask policy, which requires both its shopper team and customers to wear face coverings. “As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across North America, we’re taking additional steps to create a safe experience for customers and shoppers. Beginning [Aug. 19], we’re rolling out a new policy asking both shoppers and customers to wear a face mask. We believe the simple act of wearing a face mask can help save lives and keep our loved ones, neighbors and others in our communities safe.”
The new partnership with Doctor on Demand marks the national rollout of a program Instacart piloted in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., earlier this summer and will run until the end of the year. As part of this program, any shopper experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may take Doctor on Demand’s online assessment to determine whether they should seek additional medical attention.
Based on the results of the assessment, shoppers can schedule a free telemedicine appointment with a Doctor on Demand clinician to discuss whether they should get tested. Instacart will cover the cost of the visit to ensure its team of shoppers have access to healthcare when they need it. If an Instacart shopper is clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 by the healthcare provider, the shopper will continue to be eligible to receive up to 14 days of extended pay to ensure they are financially supported during recovery.
“It is critical that everyone has access to high-quality care in this difficult time, not just for their own health and safety, but for the health and safety of their families and broader community,” said Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor on Demand, in a release. “Instacart shoppers are providing an essential service for communities nationwide, and we are pleased to expand our partnership to ensure these shoppers on the front lines can quickly and cost-effectively access care, no matter where they are located.”
To further support the health of the entire Instacart community, starting next week, shoppers and customers will see new in-app messages with simple safety steps and reminders to wear face coverings to keep our community safe. Any active shopper who needs a face mask can order a health and safety kit free of charge, even if they’ve already ordered and received one from Instacart earlier this year. These kits include a multilayer face mask that is washable and reusable and a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer that will ship directly to shoppers with a leak-proof seal.
To date, Instacart has distributed nearly 450,000 health and safety kits to shoppers, with more kits shipping every week. Since April, the online grocer has invested more than $20 million to support shoppers’ health and safety, supporting new policies, guidelines, product features, resources, increased bonuses, and personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of shoppers, said the company.