Pandemic places delivery drivers on frontline of essential service

Mitch Hughes of Mitchie's Deliveries said it has been difficult watching businesses he has worked with forced to shut their doors and he said he is grateful Kamloops has been able to help keep so many restaurants running through this pandemic. “We’re doing our best to help as many restaurants stay open as long as we can,” he said

Whether you are hunkered down in your home to participate in social distancing, or if you’re one of the few who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are under strict quarantine, most people are doing their best to avoid heading out the front door for any reason.

That’s meant delivery services have become essential.

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But according to Sean Martin of Mitchie’s Deliveries, being essential doesn’t mean being constantly busy.

He explained that when the first concerns about the novel coronavirus crept into our collective consciousness a few weeks ago, deliveries initially dipped. Though they’ve picked up, they remain volatile and impossible to track.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” he said. “We either get crushed or we’re quiet.”

Mitch Hughes, who started the business last year, said the company is doing what it can to keep drivers not only busy, but safe.

“We have some drivers with us who have been there since the beginning,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure they’re taken care of because they’re on the frontline.”

Nathan Ritchie, who works as a driver for Skip the Dishes and Papa John’s, is familiar with that frontline and finds it odd to consider what he does an essential service.

He has also seen a lot of stress around him, whether it’s from other drivers who don’t know how much longer they’ll be working, or kitchen staff, trimmed to just essential employees, trying to keep businesses afloat.

Ritchie said he has noticed an increase in the number of people requesting contactless delivery and encourages anyone who might have questions about a restaurant’s sanitization practices during the pandemic to contact restaurants and ask questions.

He also encourages people to remember to tip.

“We’re minimum wage employees on the frontline of a pandemic,” Ritchie said. “We’re just ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.”

Skip The Dishes recently made contactless delivery mandatory. It also have many restaurant partners offering free delivery, with no service fees to customers. The company also announced a rebate that is expected to put $1 million per week back into local restaurants’ pockets.

Mitchie’s Deliveries is also doing what it can in these stressful times, giving the entire delivery fee to its drivers.

Hughes said it has been difficult watching businesses he has worked with forced to shut their doors and he said he is grateful Kamloops has been able to help keep so many restaurants running through this pandemic.

“We’re doing our best to help as many restaurants stay open as long as we can,” he said.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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