Popular online grocer FreshDirect sent an email today notifying consumers that a warehouse worker has tested positive for COVID-19. CEO David McInerney stressed that the worker had not been present in the facility since reporting feeling unwell. Nor were they involved in either the food preparation or delivery aspects of FreshDirect’s service.
The news is unsurprising as the pandemic spreads across the U.S. As of tonight, more than 8,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, across all States and D.C. As residents increasingly adhere to stay in place orders, food delivery is becoming an even more essential aspect of daily life.
Last week the company noted on its site that the system was being slammed by consumer demand, writing: “Due to high demand, delivery time slots are filling up faster than usual so please plan ahead."
In his letter, McInerney explains that FreshDirect had a course of action in place for just such an event. “This occurrence triggered the implementation of our COVID-19 response protocol, as well as a deep cleaning of the impacted area, its equipment, and all other appropriate business areas,” the executive writes. “The employee is currently self-isolating and has reported that they are doing fine.”
This is no doubt not the last of these sorts of stories we’ll hear about impacted services. Most stay-in-place orders continue exceptions for essential services, including groceries, meaning they’ll likely continue operations even as many other businesses go on hiatus. Companies are encouraging sick employees to stay away over concern for their health and that of their customers. However, a lack of access to testing, paired with a lack of safety net for many in the gig economy, disincentives the drive to keep away.
The company confirmed the statement in an email to TechCrunch.