Life amid coronavirus: Food delivery switches to drop-off mode to minimize contact
Updated 13:35, 12-Feb-2020
Xing Ruinan

The coronavirus outbreak has affected many ways of people's life, from grocery shopping to dining out. Many communities in China don't allow delivery riders through to avoid further infections.

It has especially hit China's enormous food-delivery networks. But the delivery services and communities across the country have come up with a solution: designated drop-off spots. 

Meng Xilong, 23 years old, has been a deliveryman in north China's Hebei Province for three months.

"Hello, this is Meituan. I've arrived at your residential block. Please come out and get your delivery. During this special period, we are not allowed to go in." 

A Meituan deliveryman works on heavy snowy day. /CGTN Photo

A Meituan deliveryman works on heavy snowy day. /CGTN Photo

Meituan Dianping, the company Meng works for, is now the biggest player in China's food courier market, with 440 million customers and 700,000 deliverymen. 

Meng said the way they do it now involves no human-to-human contact. "There is no contact between riders and customers. We are doing everything we can to avoid spreading the virus."

Alibaba's, China's second largest delivery company, is also racing to address the health concerns. The riders wear masks and regularly disinfect their delivery boxes, as they continue to serve millions of people under lockdown.

Although there are generally fewer online orders than those before the Chinese New Year, the demand for goods from supermarkets and drug stores has shot up. Lin Hongdong, general manager of Yong Hui Life at Home in southeast China's Fujian Province, said. "We allocate necessary protective gear to our deliverymen every day. And each product has been disinfected before we wrap it up." 

Local communities are working long hours to meet the residents' daily needs and make sure deliveries arrive safely. Most customers are happy with the arrangement.