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Postmates Will Cover Coronavirus Medical Costs for In-Demand Delivery Fleet

As the food service industry deals with the coronavirus epidemic, Postmates appears to be the first U.S. delivery platform to launch new medical benefits in response.

As many predict a significant increase in food delivery orders as consumers avoid public places like restaurants or self-quarantine for weeks on end, Postmates has taken an initiative to cover coronavirus-related medical expenses for its delivery fleet. According to a company release, Postmates announced Tuesday that it's created a fund that will credit its delivery drivers for the costs of doctors appointments and other medical expenses related to COVID-19.

According to the release, Postmates employees who have made at least one delivery in the last two weeks in 22 affected states will be eligible for a credit from the emergency relief fund, which can be deposited toward the platform's health savings program. Postmates drivers who aren't registered with the company's health account can sign up for emergency credit relief, no diagnosis or quarantine necessary.

This initiative follows McDonald's announcement that the franchisor will offer paid sick leave to their workers. McDonald's will pay employees at its corporate-owned stores that are quarantined due to coronavirus for up to 14 days, and already offered five days of paid leave across the majority of its network. In addition, McDonald’s biennial franchisee convention which was set to take place in Orlando, Florida has been cancelled as a result of feedback, global travel restrictions and advice from various world health ministries including the World Health Organization. Starbucks is also offering "catastrophe pay" to employees that are diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.

Postmates also responded to questions of delivery safety with the introduction of a non-contact delivery option to make the process safer for everyone involved.

In addition to covering medical precautions, Postmates will waive commission fees for new partners in San Francisco, a market heavily affected by coronavirus, as part of a Small Business Relief Pilot. The company will monitor other markets to potentially expand the offering beyond San Francisco to other affected cities. 

With the third-party delivery wars just as strong as ever, Postmates keeping couriers in action and waiving commission fees for restaurants that are struggling to drive in-store sales amid the coronavirus scare could boost the platform, especially as major QSR and fast casual brandsd begin putting an emphasis on delivery and pick up orders. Time will tell if other delivery companies will launch similar offerings.