While many businesses have ground to a halt during the coronavirus outbreak delivery drivers have never been busier.
Just ask Justin Daniel, a driver with the meal delivery service Skip The Dishes.
“The busiest times usually tend to be the dinner hour,” he said. “But I’ve noticed since COVID has happened there is no real lull,” said Daniel, 27. “You don’t really stop.”
He started driving for Skip, Uber and Uber Eats last November to make a few extra dollars, and earned decent income the first few months, he said.
Then COVID-19 arrived.
Sales begin climbing in February when Canada had just a handful of confirmed cases. After Ontario ordered restaurants and bars to provide take-out and delivery only on March 17, Daniel began making as many as 20 deliveries in a four-hour shift.
“It’s not something I was planning to do full time,” he said. “But it definitely turned into a full-time gig.”
He estimates he’s making $1,000 a week, not counting fuel costs. But gasoline prices have fallen below 70 cents a litre and the tips have been good, he said.
“This is telling of the Sarnia community and how generous they are. Most people recognize the risks that these drivers are putting themselves in.”
Daniel said he is constantly aware the virus is circulating in the community.
But he takes the recommended precautions seriously, and Skip The Dishes has implemented additional safety protocols. To limit contact, drivers now leave food orders at the door, and Daniel wears gloves and a surgical mask.
On some deliveries he’s found signs on the door stating someone inside has COVID-19.
“It’s not going to stop me from doing it because I know what I’m doing is helping people,” he said.
“At least I’m helping somebody who has no ability to go out and get their own food.”