The global outbreak of the coronavirus has brought the entire world to a standstill. Several governments around the world have enforced a lockdown to control the spread of the virus, resulting in a significant shift in everyone’s daily lives.
The COVID-19 disease is one that is highly contagious, while also being extremely dangerous to the person who is exposed to it. While the symptoms of the virus are flu-like, they are much more severe, putting the elderly population, as well as scores of immuno-compromised people around the world at high risk.
What is social distancing?
There hasn’t yet been news of a vaccine or cure for the COVID-19, which has left authorities scrambling to find ways to control or mitigate the rapid spread of the disease. Currently, the most effective and internationally-recognized way of controlling the spread of the disease is to practise social distancing.
Social distancing means that people are discouraged from gathering in groups or even leaving their homes except to purchase essential items or for emergencies. Even when people do leave their homes, they are expected to refrain from coming in contact with other people, while also maintaining a distance of two meters from the next person. As the virus is known to spread through contact, it is important for people to maintain their distance at all times. Undoubtedly, social distancing means that offices, schools and other establishments would have to close down and give people the option of working from home until the lockdown period ends. Social distancing is the only known way of reducing the number of positive cases and bringing the coronavirus situation under control.
Very few know the importance of social distancing. The reason why authorities are encouraging social distancing is because of how contagious the virus is. A person infected with the seasonal flu would most likely infect about one other person at the time of their sickness. On the other hand, a person with coronavirus can infect at least three or four other people they come in contact with, which only makes the virus spread faster. The more rapidly people become infected, the longer it will take for the virus to be contained, which also would lead to more fatalities in the long run.
How social distancing is affecting fleet drivers and deliveries
As people are no longer getting out of their homes, they have taken up to online deliveries to ease the chaos. The social distancing measures have now caused a surge in last-mile deliveries. This refers to the final stage of the sales process when the purchased items leave the distribution centres and are sent out for delivery to customers. As people are scrambling to stock up on essential items, while also avoiding the crowds at supermarkets, e-retail has become the popular choice for them to get all their supplies for this quarantine period.
Considering the surge in deliveries, as well as the new social distancing measures being laid out, there is more burden on the shoulders of the delivery people to ensure that they are not risking their own health, as well as the health of others while carrying out their duties.
How drivers can maintain social distancing during deliveries
Big e-retail giants have laid out specific precautionary measures to ensure that their delivery personnel are keeping themselves and others safe during the outbreak. One of the most important steps taken by several of these companies is to introduce no-touch deliveries. This means that the delivery person will not make any contact with the customer while still being able to efficiently deliver the package to them.
Here are some of the important steps that have been undertaken by several e-retail companies in lieu of contactless delivery
- All drivers have been provided with all essential protective gear such as face masks, gloves, boots and hand sanitisers so that they can remain protected while driving around the city.
- Drivers have been briefed regarding the health etiquettes to be followed – which includes directives to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouths throughout the day. Drivers are also encouraged to make necessary stops to be able to wash their hands as and when required.
- As part of ‘no-touch delivery,’ drivers are instructed to leave the packages by the customer’s door, while the customer can sign off the delivery on their own devices instead of the driver’s.
- The driver and customer can communicate via the app on their phones, which would make it easier for them to navigate doorstep deliveries.
- Delivery vans and trucks are also to be washed down and disinfected at the start and end of every working day.
With people spending a lot of time in their homes, there is no doubt that deliveries will continue to witness a surge for a considerable period of time. At this time, it is important to practise all the necessary precautions to not cause unwarranted panic amongst the people. It is also crucial for customers to practise compassion for the delivery people who are willing to put their health and safety at risk, all in a bid to provide people with all their necessities during this difficult time. If customers have the facility of tipping the driver either through their apps or in a contact-less manner, it would undoubtedly be of great assistance to them.