Unless you’ve spent 2020 living under a rock, you’ve definitely heard of COVID 19. The pandemic has been a key event of the year – to say the least. This disease is easily spread, as we can tell from the almost 100 million cases worldwide (so far). Telltale signs of COVID include a cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, fatigue, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. Many businesses want to stay open during the pandemic. However, they also don’t want their employees and customers to get sick. It’s a tricky balance and, needless to say, health and safety during COVID 19 is a pretty hot topic at the moment.
When you’re working, you likely make hundreds of deliveries every day. For any job which involves so much contact with customers, staying safe during COVID 19 at work can be a challenge. However, staying at home means not making any money – so we want to avoid that! In this article, we have some advice for delivery drivers during COVID 19, so you can keep yourself safe, while still getting paid.
1. Aim for contactless deliveries when you can
As a delivery driver, you’ve probably heard of contactless deliveries. This style of drop-off is getting more and more popular for health and safety during COVID 19. While most commonly used by Doordash, Uber Eats and other food delivery services, this can be a great method for staying safe at work when you’re delivering parcels that require signatures or other in-person verification.
How to do a contactless delivery? Try to do all interactions electronically if you can, such as via app or over the phone. When you arrive, simply leave the parcel at the doorstep, knock, and back up six feet from the delivery. Keep a distance as you confirm receipt of the delivery with the customer.
2. If you can’t do contactless deliveries, remember to physically distance
It’s unlikely that you can entirely avoid having any contact with others while working. Maybe your employer can’t support contactless deliveries, or maybe you need to be in contact with others at a depot. In this case, try to stick to physical distancing requirements.
The general rule of thumb is to maintain a six foot distance between you and any others. Keeping a distance will protect you and the people you’re in contact with. You never know who has immunocompromised people or elderly people in their close circles, and it’s always best to play it safe.
3. Wear a mask when in contact with customers
It’s common knowledge that COVID 19 is highly contagious. It mostly spreads through respiratory droplets, such as those produced by a cough or sneeze. COVID is usually spread by one person breathing in these tiny droplets from an infected person.
Masks are an easy way to stop your respiratory droplets ending up in the mouths or noses of your customers. Even if you have no COVID 19 symptoms, you might be infected but asymptomatic.
Wearing a mask is a crucial way to protect customers you come into contact with while on your route. It doesn’t matter so much in the car, but be sure to put a surgical or cloth mask over your nose and mouth before knocking on doors as you make your deliveries.
Along with a mask, disposable rubber or latex gloves are another good barrier to help you stay safe while working. These can protect you from germs which might be lingering on door handles, elevator buttons or other surfaces. Change the gloves often and toss the used ones into the trash in your car.
4. Stock up your vehicle with hygiene gear
Make the most of your advantage of having a car or van. This is a great place to store items which are helpful for staying safe during COVID 19 at work. Make a quick trip to the supermarket and stock up on items such as disinfectant spray, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, a trash bag, spare face masks, tissues and trash bags.
At the beginning and end of each shift, disinfect surfaces that many people come into contact with. For instance, if you share a car with other drivers, wipe down the steering wheel, gearshift, door handles and seat belts.
Use tissues when you cough, sneeze or touch your face. Throw these used tissues in the trash, along with used gloves. Remember to keep spare face masks in your vehicle, and sanitize your hands often between deliveries.
5. Stay home when you’re sick
Even if you follow all the above advice for staying safe while making deliveries, some of those sneaky virus droplets might still get into your system. If you develop a fever or any other COVID 19 symptoms such as a cough or loss of taste, give your doctor a call. After talking with your doctor about your symptoms, they will likely ask you to stay home from work. Make sure you’re clear on the criteria for testing and self isolation.
As much as you probably don’t want to, it’s very important to stay home when you’re sick. Quarantining away from others is important for the safety of your customers and other drivers or depot workers you might come into contact with.
Other delivery driver tips for health and safety during COVID 19
There are many other pieces of advice for delivery drivers during COVID 19. If you need to enter buildings, try to limit contact with surfaces that are touched by many people. For instance, think elevator buttons, doorbells or door handles. Instead, try to press buttons or open doors with your shoulder, elbow, hip or forearm if you can. Rubber or latex gloves can also be a useful barrier.
Avoid sharing items such as pens and scanners with customers and coworkers. If you must, be sure to sanitize them after use. Likewise, sanitize your hands after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces.
Even though COVID 19 is very easily spread, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk while making deliveries. Avoid contact with customers, wear a mask, and disinfect surfaces and your hands. If you take these steps, you should be able to keep working (and, more importantly, making money!) without too much risk to the health of others and yourself. Stick it out, and the pandemic will be over before you know it.