- Instacart plans to add 300,000 "grocery shoppers" over the next three months to keep up with surging demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a blog post Monday.
- "The last few weeks have been the busiest in Instacart's history," CEO Apoorva Mehta wrote in the blog post.
- Instacart and other delivery services have seen a spike in business as restaurants close and more places tell residents to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- The company said it has taken a number of steps, such as contactless delivery, to protect shoppers and customers and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
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Online grocery delivery service Instacart is aiming to add 300,000 workers across North America over the next three months as demand surges amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced in a blog post Monday.
"The last few weeks have been the busiest in Instacart's history, and we've been proud to serve as an essential service for you and the millions of customers relying on you to deliver their groceries and household goods," CEO Apoorva Mehta wrote in the post.
While most businesses have seen a slowdown in recent weeks as the US economy grinds to a halt, Instacart and other online delivery companies have seen an uptick due to statewide lockdowns forcing restaurants to close and residents to stay home. As people look to minimize their time in crowded public places, like grocery stores, they're increasingly turning to online delivery.
"As more people look for immediate, flexible earnings opportunities during this time, we hope that Instacart can be an additional source of income for those looking to earn while also delivering for the communities in which they live," Mehta said in a statement sent to Business Insider.
At the same time, the country's increased reliance on gig workers has raised concerns about how they'll manage during the coronavirus pandemic, since many are not able to do their jobs from home and thus are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. Many are also independent contractors and lack benefits like health insurance and paid sick leave that full-time employees typically enjoy.
Instacart has taken several precautions to look out for workers, such as implementing contactless delivery, giving part-time workers access to sick pay (with up to 14 days of pay for anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in mandatory quarantine), and providing its shoppers with health and safety guidelines and supplies, the company said in a statement sent to Business Insider.
Instacart is not alone in trying to strike a balance between providing an essential service to customers while also looking out for the health and safety of the workers who make that service possible. Amazon and Walmart are both ramping up hiring and simultaneously adjusting their benefits policies for workers who are forced to choose between risking their health and losing income or their jobs.