Instacart, which has come under fire of late from its full-service shopper workers who say the company has failed to provide them with adequate protection against the coronavirus pandemic, plans to distribute free health and safety kits to its contract workers in the wake of COVID-19.
The San Francisco-based online grocery delivery company has been working with third-party manufacturers, in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts, to source and develop new health and safety kits for its shopper workers that include washable/reusable face masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers. The kits will be available to Instacart full-service shoppers to order at no cost beginning next week, via a website built for the shopper community.
Additionally, the company announced the launch of its new COVID-19 Resource Center to share details with all members of the Instacart community about how it is responding to the evolving COVID-19 crisis. The site includes information about new shopper guidelines, resources and features; product and support information for customers; and details on Instacart’s consulting role on a COVID-19 health and safety advisory panel.
“We’re singularly focused on the health and safety of our shopper community. Our teams have been working around the clock over the last few weeks to proactively secure personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer and face masks, without taking away valuable resources from healthcare workers given inventory delays and global supply scarcity," said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart, in a statement.
“We want to provide customers with an essential service they can rely on to get their groceries and household goods, while also offering safe and flexible earnings opportunities to Instacart personal shoppers,” Ganenthiran continued. “As COVID-19 evolves, today’s health and safety solutions will be tomorrow’s table stakes, and our teams are working quickly to introduce new services and features to ensure our shopper community is supported as this situation unfolds.”
Instacart has also sourced and will be directly distributing washable and reusable cloth face masks to its worker shoppers for use while shopping in-store. These are multiuse masks that do not impact the healthcare and medical community’s supply, said the company.
“While the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] over the last few weeks has advised against the distribution of N95 and surgical face masks to enable front-line health workers to have first access to the supplies they need, we understand the situation is evolving fast," said Dilshika Wijesekera, Instacart’s director of food safety and regulatory compliance, in a statement.
“As a result, Instacart has taken proactive steps over the last several weeks to secure face masks and thermometers, as well as work with a third-party to manufacture hand sanitizer, for its shopper community. Our goal is to offer personal health and safety supplies without impacting the critical supply needs of medical personnel and first responders throughout North America.”