NEW DELHI: Amazon India is reaching out to customers to assure them that receiving deliveries through its platform is safe, and that it continues to take preventative hygiene measures across its sites. The move comes a day after a pizza delivery boy in the city tested positive for COVID-19, and 72 families that had come in contact with him were put under quarantine.

The development created concern around whether receiving home delivery of food and other items is a safe option.

Amazon, in a statement, said it has advised its delivery associates to clean all frequently touched surfaces of their vehicles and delivery devices at the start and end of routes.

It has also mandated all delivery associates to stay home if they feel sick or have a fever.

“…as an added measure of safety, (Amazon) has temporarily changed the way it’s delivering your items. Based on regional regulations and social distancing requirements in the new process, the delivery associate will place your package at your doorstep and maintain a 2 metre distance,” it noted.

In order to adhere to social distancing, and as additional precautionary measure, Amazon has also temporarily suspended processes like exchange and return of products.

The company said it has also increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites and work stations.

E-commerce companies are gearing up to deliver products like mobile phones and refrigerators to customers in areas that do not fall under COVID-19 hotspots from April 20.

Under the first phase of lockdown between March 24-April 14, the government had only allowed delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce platforms.

Earlier this week, it issued detailed guidelines allowing e-commerce companies to operate.

Following the guidelines by the Home Affairs Ministry, states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Odisha have also issued directions for e-commerce operations in the state.

Walmart-owned Flipkart is also taking stringent measures to ensure that its warehouse and delivery partners are adhering to government and WHO guidelines during deliveries.

“We are also constantly monitoring the health of our employees and delivery associates using thermal scans/thermal guns,” Flipkart said in response to an emailed query.

The company said it is also keeping a regular track of the affected areas through its centralised security team to avoid exposure of employees in those regions.

A Snapdeal spokesperson said its deliveries are handled by leading third-party logistics companies.

“We will be working closely with them towards the compliance of the safety and sanitization norms mandated by the government for e-commerce operations,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that Snapdeal will also guide buyers with regard to safe practices to be followed while receiving e-commerce packets, including encouraging contactless deliveries.

Grofers CEO and co-founder Albinder Dhindsa said the company is taking similar steps to ensure safety of its customers and warehouse and delivery teams.

“…we are following multiple safety and preventive measures across our warehouses, delivery fleet, production of goods as well as for our customers,” he said.

Dhindsa said Grofers is conducting mandatory screening of staff using infrared contactless thermometers, and disinfecting and sanitising warehouses after every few hours to keep the entire inventory virus-free. SR RVK





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