How Food Delivery Services Are Updating Their Policies During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
This story was originally published on March 18, 2020 and will be continuously updated in the coming days.
Right now, many city and state governments are requiring restaurants to restrict service to take-out or delivery only in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. That means more people are turning to delivery services to support their favorite restaurants. As a result of this increased demand, these companies are introducing new policies like no-contact delivery, reduced delivery fees, and more. Below, we've outlined how the most prominent delivery services are responding to COVID-19.
While many of these delivery companies are now waiving fees for independent restaurants, if you're hoping to support a small business with your food order, we encourage you to reach out to them directly or check their social channels as some spots might prefer people place pick-up orders or buy gift cards. And, don't forget, even if you opt to have no contact with your delivery driver, you should still tip well.

DoorDash & Caviar

In an email sent out on March 17, Tony Xu, the CEO of DoorDash and Caviar, stated the services' default delivery methods will be changed to the recently introduced no-contact option. Customers will still be able to select "Hand it to me" in the delivery method section at checkout if they prefer. Couriers will be able to initiate a no-contact by reaching out to the customer.
Xu also announced that eligible Dashers and Caviar couriers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined will receive financial assistance. The company is in the process of shipping out more than 1 million sets of hand sanitizer and gloves to delivery employees.
Independent restaurants can also sign up with DoorDash and Caviar for free and pay zero commissions for 30 days. All existing DoorDash-partnered restaurants will pay no commission fees on pickup orders, and additional commission reductions will be provided to eligible merchants that are already on DoorDash.


Drizly emailed its users on March 13 to share how it's changing deliveries. The alcohol delivery service is encouraging customers to work with drivers to designate a spot outside of their houses or buildings to complete deliveries. Specific requests should be put in the notes section during checkout. Unlike with food, alcohol deliveries do still legally need to be made in person and to a residential or corporate address.
Again for legal reasons, customer IDs still need to be scanned, however, drivers are being encouraged to scan IDs without touching them. Drizly has also requested that its retail partners eliminate any need for customers to sign drivers' devices, but this decision may still be made at the retailer level. Another option is that drivers may ask customers to bring a pen and sign a paper receipt.

Grubhub & Seamless

As of March 16, Grubhub is deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants and matching all promotions run by independent restaurants with its Smart Promotions feature. For the safety of customers and delivery drivers, its also offering contact-free delivery, which customers can select at checkout.


On March 6, Postmates announced it was introducing Dropoff Options, which allows customers to specify how they want to receive deliveries. Customers can meet deliveries at the door, at the curbside, or choose "non-contact." Non-contact deliveries will be left at your door. On March 13, the company released additional announcements about its COVID-19 response, including that it will be offering reduced delivery fees — often during peak lunch hours — in order to make delivery more accessible. 
Postmates Fleet Relief Fund was introduced on March 10, and it will aid in covering the cost of co-pays, medical expenses, and sick leave related to COVID-19 for the company's delivery drivers. Postmates is also working to launching an emergency waiver on fees charged to restaurants and stores that have yet to sign up for the platform.

Uber Eats

According to the COVID-19 updates on Uber's website, Eats customers can use the delivery notes field on the app to communicate if they'd like their orders left at their door. Uber may also temporarily remove restaurants and delivery drivers from the app when it receives confirmation of contraction or exposure to COVID‑19.
Like other delivery services, Uber is waiving delivery fees on all Eats orders from independent restaurants across the US & Canada. It also introduced a new functionality that enables same-day payouts for any restaurants who request it. Uber also said any delivery person who is diagnosed with the virus or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. 
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
Related Content:

More from Food & Drinks

R29 Original Series