Instacart now offers deliveries that don’t require human contact amid coronavirus fears

The grocery delivery startup said Thursday that it has rolled out a new feature call “Leave at My Door Delivery,” which gives customers the option to have an order left by their door during a designated time frame instead of having an in-person hand-off.

The company said it had been testing the opt-in feature in recent months and decided to roll out the option to all customers now because of “increased demand” for it in recent days.

As cases of coronavirus continue to rack up in the US, the workers who give rides and deliver groceries or restaurant orders for gig economy companies could be on the frontlines of the outbreak as people avoid public transportation and rely on home deliveries instead of frequenting restaurants and stores.
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The concept of “contactless deliveries” is something that companies in China adopted in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in the country. CNN Business previously reached out to several food delivery startups in the US, including Instacart, DoorDash, Uber Eats and GrubHub about whether they were considering adopting the practice.

In a statement, a GrubHub spokesperson said, “this is obviously a complex and fast-moving situation. We are focused on prioritizing the health and safety of our drivers, diners, restaurant partners and employees during this challenging time. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, including assessing and analyzing the potential impact on our business.”

DoorDash declined to comment. Uber (UBER) did not respond to request for comment.

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