Instacart will start distributing free health and safety kit to its full-service shoppers next week. The move likely comes as a response to the walkout workers staged a few days ago to protest the company's inadequate safety measures against the coronavirus pandemic. One of their demands was the distribution of items like hand sanitizers.
The grocery delivery service's kits will contain washable and reusable cloth face masks, which will not have an impact on supplies for the healthcare and medical community. They will also contain ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizers and forehead thermometers that can check temperatures in 15 seconds.
Instacart explained that up until now, the CDC has only recommended social distancing and frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it understands "that the situation continues to evolve quickly," so it took "proactive steps to secure face masks and thermometers" and manufactured hand sanitizers for shoppers. It's worth noting that the White House is soon expected to urge Americans to wear cloth masks or any material they can use to cover their face.
It's unclear if the company is meeting all the demands made by the workers who walked out. But shortly after the strike was announced, it updated its policy to provide up to 14 days of paid sick leave to workers diagnosed with or are quarantined due to COVID-19. It also promised bonus pay for in-store shoppers based on the number of hours worked.