As Malaysia sees an increase in daily confirmed cases of Covid-19, online food and grocery delivery services are also seeing an uptick in customer demand.
Shah Alam-based MyMarket business owner Sarah Salim said she noticed more new customers signing up to her company's online grocery delivery service.
"In one day, we can do around 50 to 200 deliveries. I would say the delivery rate has increased to up to 30% due to Covid-19 as more people choose to get their groceries delivered to them instead of going out," she said when contacted by StarLifeStyle Tech.
In Kuala Selangor, Lim Yew Jin of SeaFresh, an e-commerce platform offering seafood, claimed there has been a 10% to 15% increase in business which he believes is due to Covid-19.
"We thought business would slow down after Chinese New Year but it was not the case. We used to do around 20 to 30 orders a week. Now we can do up to 60 orders a week,” he said when contacted.
As more customers opt to have their items delivered to them, for those in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, should they take the initiative to declare their situation to the service providers?
Tammy Tan, the manager of DD Fishery Live, a platform where buyers bid for live seafood on Facebook daily, said it’s not something she would require from her customers.
"We mostly just leave items at their doorstep. We have our own measures such as equipping our delivery personnels with masks and to maintain some distance from customers when necessary," Tan said.
Online delivery service HappyFresh, which offers items from supermarkets and speciality stores, currently does not require customers to declare if they are at home serving a Covid-19 quarantine.
If customers do divulge such information, the company said riders will be required to observe a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which includes leaving the delivery bag on the doorstep within a one-meter distance. They will also ask customers if it’s okay for the riders to sign the acknowledgement slip on their behalf.
After that, riders will then sanitise their hands and use alcohol swabs to clean their phones.
"Our riders are equipped with masks and hand sanitisers to provide a safe shopping experience," HappyFresh managing director Hu Hun Hui said to StarLifestyle Tech.
Hui said HappyFresh has also noticed an increase in demand in the last few weeks. "We encourage customers to purchase as usual as we do have sufficient delivery slots for them."
Cloud-based delivery service MyGroser said they would appreciate customers taking the initiative to inform their delivery personnels, stating that it’s “the responsible thing to do”.
"Being under quarantine is something that Malaysians are doing voluntarily in some instances and we appreciate the efforts being made by people to keep everyone healthy," MyGroser chief executive officer Stephen P. Francis said.
He added that once they have been informed, the company will take additional measures on deliveries. For now, some measures include disinfecting vehicles and equipment regularly as well as providing delivery teams with masks and gloves.
"All payments are online so we do not have the risk our consumers or our delivery teams handling any money on site,” Francis added.
Both Sarah and Lim agreed that customers not declaring Covid-19 quarantine is not “an issue”. Sarah explained that her delivery personnels have little contact with customers.
"They mostly request that our delivery personnels just leave the items at their door because they are not at home to pick it up," she said.
She said her customers are mostly based in central Kuala Lumpur and the best-selling kitchen item these days would be raw chicken. Customers can place their order on MyMarket’s website before 12am and get the items delivered the next day to their doorstep.
Lim said his customers are mostly homemakers in Klang Valley who often order items like tenggiri (mackerel) or threadfin. Customers have to spend a minimum of RM150 per order.
"It would be best if customers serving Covid-19 quarantine do inform us but it’s not a major problem. Most of the time, items are left on the door and there is no need for contact since payment has been made online," Lim said.
Meanwhile, food delivery services like Foodpanda said in a press statement that it has formed a safety committee to tackle Covid-19 and issued a guideline to remind employees to practice measures like good hygiene.
A Grab Malaysia spokesperson said the company has also placed some precautionary measures that are in line with local health authorities guidelines. It also reminded users to use a widget on its app to get information from the Ministry of Health.