- Instacart is distributing health and safety kits to its full-service shoppers, the company said in an email to Grocery Dive Thursday afternoon. The kit includes face masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers.
- The face mask is made from cotton and polyester, making it washable and reusable. These masks do not impact the healthcare and medical community’s supply. The hand sanitizer is ethyl alcohol-based and the forehead thermometer does a temperature check in approximately 15 seconds.
- The kits are available at no cost and will be available for order starting next week on its shopper community website. For its in-store shoppers, Instacart has already distributed masks directly to its retail locations.
Instacart said its team has been working on securing this equipment for weeks to ensure the company isn’t taking away from healthcare worker supply, which is facing a shortage. Instacart also added that it has been following CDC guidelines that suggests social distancing and frequent hand washing, but as situation evolved, the delivery service decided to create these kits.
The safety kits come only days after a number of its shoppers went on strike Monday. Workers wanted more protective gear, as well as hazard pay of $5 and a default tip of 10%. While Instacart did not meet some of those demands, it did beef up its worker benefits package over the weekend. It extended the deadline for its 14-day paid leave policy that covers hourly and full-time shoppers diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined an extra 30 days, to May 8. It also added a bonus system for in-store shoppers, introduced contactless alcohol delivery, retooled its tipping function to remove the no-tip option and announced it will begin distributing hand sanitizer to workers who request it.
However, Instacart shoppers did not think this was enough and some followed through with their plans to strike. "The fact of the matter is we work with so many people every single day that we are in constant danger," according to the petition.
The company noted that the strike had "absolutely no impact on Instacart's operations" and on Monday it had 40% more shoppers on its platform, than the same time the week before. It had 250,000 new sign-ups to be shoppers and 50,000 of them have already started to work.
As more Americans are forced to stay indoors during the coronavirus, employees like Instacart’s shoppers have become essential and the number of orders has skyrocketed. This surge has the company aiming to hire an additional 300,000 contractors.