Myanmar’s Food Delivery Boosted by COVID-19 Restrictions

By Lwin Mar Htun 10 April 2020

Coronavirus has boosted demand for food deliveries with some entrepreneurs starting to sell home-cooked meals through delivery services.

But deliveries still risk infection between customers and delivery staff.

In Yangon there are five main food delivery services, Food2u, Yangon Door2Door, Foodpanda, Hi-So Mall and Grab Food, but there are also smaller operations setting up.

Demand for delivery staff is also rising.

COVID-19 is mostly spread through coughing, sneezing and droplets left on surfaces.

If the kitchen uses sensible hygiene with regular hand washing, the virus should not be transmitted. Coronavirus can reportedly survive on plastic, paper, cardboard and other materials for an unknown amount of time, so packaging can be a risk.

And not all companies have been providing gloves, masks and hand sanitizers for couriers.

Delivery staff have to enter several restaurants, touching the doors, counters and cash.

Customers are advised to remove bags or boxes before bringing a meal into their homes and to use gloves. A 2-meter distance is advised from the courier. Hands should also be washed for 20 seconds before eating.

Recently, Foodpanda started to leave deliveries at the door to reduce contact.

One challenge is using cash because online payments are still in their infancy.

Yangon Door2Door and Foodpanda have launched cashless services but many customers are still using cash. Some restaurants and Melia Yangon, Sedona and other hotels have also started deliveries.

Yangon’s bars are offering cocktail buckets, beer and wine deliveries.

A few days ago, a pizza delivered to The Irrawaddy by Food2u took 90 minutes and the masked delivery man used hand sanitizer before touching the box.

Couriers often have little job security and are forced to work through the coronavirus restrictions to support themselves. Until normal life resumes, they may provide an increasingly useful service.

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