Deliveroo UK adds 'Don't interact with the help' option for when ordering a burger

Protecting innocent drivers from nasty old cash tips... and your sneezes

Food delivery service Deliveroo will create an option for no-contact deliveries in the UK in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In an email sent to customers this morning, the company said it would launch a "no-contact drop-off service" which allows users to request that their rider leaves their food on their doorstep, "removing the need for direct contact for both parties."

News of the feature will come as a relief to many socially awkward Brits who find the prospect of talking to a complete stranger terrifying.

Deliveroo did not respond to The Register's enquiries as to whether the service would continue after the outbreak came under control.

In a statement the company – which accepts card payments only (you can tip through the app) – said it will pay riders who fall ill with the virus for up to 14 days. It will also order hand sanitisers for riders and create a support team in each market to answer riders' questions.

"Riders' safety is a priority and we want to make sure those who are impacted by this unprecedented virus and cannot work are supported. Deliveroo will provide support for riders who are diagnosed with the virus or who are told to isolate themselves by a medical authority," the company added.

Deliveroo is not the first delivery service to give customers the options to avoid personal contact. Earlier this month, Postmates and Instacart added the option, and rival service Uber Eats said customers can request contactless deliveries through the app, and that it will offer riders who fall ill with the virus two weeks of sick pay, provided they have documentation. Just Eat, another rival, said it will introduce contactless delivery in the near future.

Some courier services, such as Spain's Glovo, are recommending "no contact" deliveries and removing the requirement for couriers to obtain a signature from customers.

According to a NHS briefing yesterday, 10 people in the UK have died and 596 have been infected by the virus. In the briefing, prime minister Boris Johnson described the outbreak as the "worst public health crisis for a generation" and warned that as many as 10,000 people may have already been infected.

Never one to let an opportunity go to waste, Deliveroo added that those of us who are too ill or panic-stricken to leave the house can "order kitchen and household products from local stores and supermarkets on the Deliveroo app, making every day life that much easier". ®

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