CHICAGO (CBS) — During the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown, delivery drivers have been on the front lines with to-go boxes and bags.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina spent the day with a driver who is taking safety precautions of his own.
Nick Trinidad is used to spending a lot of time behind the wheel.
“I deliver for Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates, and Caviar,” he said.
But Trinidad is still getting used to the sanitary gloves he now wears.
“When I don’t wear gloves, I sanitize,” he said.
Trinidad is also adjusting to the nearly empty city streets, and empty restaurants. With delivery and takeout keeping their doors open, he says most of the places from which he picks up only let one person inside at a time, and do not allow crowding together outside.
“If it’s not ready, they’ll have you go to your car and text you when it’s ready or bring it out to your car,” Trinidad said.
Delivery drivers are considered part of essential business during Illinois’ stay-at-home order, in place until April 7.
Trinidad said his job is essential to a group of people he wasn’t delivering to before COVID-19.
“I’ve seen a lot more elderly people using the services,” he said.
That is especially true when it comes to groceries, where he Trinidad said deliveries are way up with people most vulnerable to the virus.
“It really makes me feel good that I’m doing something that’s helping others out,” Trinidad said.
And while he says some customers are bumping up their tips, and a few are sending him thank you’s, “I personally don’t think I’m doing anything extraordinary.”
Trinidad, the son of a Chicago Fire Department captain, had only this to say when I asked him about his place on the front line.
“I would like to thank all the first responders out there,” he said. “Those are the real heroes.”
DoorDash outlined the precautions it is taking for delivery drivers:
“To ensure that drivers who are sick can focus on recovering, we are providing financial assistance to eligible Dashers and Caviar couriers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined. We are in the process of shipping more than 1 million sets of free hand sanitizer and gloves to Dashers and Caviar couriers. And we are consulting with public health officials and working with restaurants to enhance their food preparation protocols.
“Starting this week, we’re changing the default delivery method to a no-contact option to minimize contact between Dashers and customers.”
Meanwhile, Tuesday, March 24, is now designated The Great American Take Out – encouraging people, who can, to order take out or delivery to help local restaurants.