SINGAPORE: Food delivery riders who have been placed under quarantine orders due to the novel coronavirus will receive a care package aimed at alleviating their loss of income while they are unable to work.
The Government will provide these riders with a S$100 per day allowance during the 14 days that they are unable to work.
Meanwhile, riders who are members of the Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) are eligible for a one-off allowance of S$200.
Ride-hailing and food-delivery giant Grab will also provide those delivering for its GrabFood delivery service a one-off amount of between S$100 and S$200 should they be quarantined or hospitalised during this time.
The above measures were announced on Thursday (Feb 6) during a Chinese New Year celebration organised by Grab for its private-hire vehicle drivers and food delivery riders, at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
These come after a similar suite of financial relief measures was announced for taxi and private-hire car drivers under quarantine on Feb 1.
More than 28,000 people worldwide have been infected by the novel coronavirus, with more than 560 deaths.
In Singapore, there are currently 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus - which is believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in the Hubei province.
Speaking at the event, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said Grab’s move was part of a “comprehensive approach” for its drivers and delivery riders, and encouraged other companies to follow Grab’s lead.
“We are also working hard to develop further measures to provide targeted support towards the private-hire car and taxi industry, which is likely to be affected,” said Dr Janil, who is also advisor to the Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit.
Grab Singapore head Yee Wee Tang said the new measures are aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of its riders during this time.
“We will also be pushing out alerts to our customers to remind them to do their part by putting on masks if they have a cough or runny nose, and for them to let you know in advance if they would prefer for you to leave their food orders at their doorstep or building’s reception area, in order to limit exposure,” he said.
He added that GrabFood’s business has not been impacted by concerns over the virus.
“We are monitoring closely but as of now there is no impact on the food delivery business,” he said.
Mr Yee said the company was also looking at whether similar care packages could be provided for drivers and delivery riders on leave of absence (LOA) – a precautionary measure under which those with recent travel history to China to stay at home for a 14-day period to monitor their health – who do not currently qualify for such benefits.
NTUC assistant director-general Ang Hin Kee said the union is engaging stakeholders and is working to draw up a similar plan for those on LOA.
CNA has contacted the other two major food delivery firms here, Deliveroo and Foodpanda, on whether they would also be announcing similar measures for their riders.
Grab also announced a partnership with the National Private-Hire Vehicles Association to provide its drivers with a set of training courses.
These include a defensive driving course, to be jointly conducted by Grab and the ComfortDelGro Driving Centre, as well as SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace, which is aimed at helping them learn more about emerging technologies and how to use data.