In response to the coronavirus, the South African Government has introduced five levels of lockdown. The lockdown levels severely impacted how restaurants and food delivery apps can operate in the country, with the added complexity of levels changing at any given time and varying between its Provinces. This leaves the industry in a tough position, having to adapt as levels change in response to infection rates.
During this difficult time we know restaurants are facing unprecedented challenges, in particular small and independent operators. On top of this, many of the relief efforts for restaurants proposed by the South African Government only provide support during Level 5 lockdown. This means when restaurants are open for delivery during Level 4 and below, they may not be eligible for government relief.
Due to the unique challenges our customers and partners are facing in South Africa, we are working 24/7 to take action to support public safety, restaurant partners, delivery people and our communities.
Here are the latest developments in our ongoing local response.
Supporting public safety
- Supporting public health authorities: Working with public health authorities, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of users and delivery people confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. The guidelines for Public Health Authorities can be found here.
- “Leave at door” delivery: We advise Uber Eats customers to use the no-contact feature by selecting “leave at door” at checkout or communicating instructions directly to delivery people in-app.
- Safety information: We are providing restaurants, delivery partners and customers with the latest safety advice from the WHO and South African government in our apps.
Supporting restaurants and delivery people
- Daily payouts: we’ve introduced daily payouts – restaurants can now request a payment at any point during the week, to support a continued cash flow.
- Express onboarding: As restaurants are required to close their doors, delivery options like ordering through Uber Eats can help them keep their business going. We’ve made it quicker and easier for new restaurants who meet our safety-based criteria to join Uber Eats, reducing wait times to less than 24 hours for sign-ups.
- Fees: Deferred restaurant commission payments over 20% during lockdown Level 4, and waived activation fees for new restaurants. We will also offer 0% commission on all pick-up orders when this is allowed by the government.
- Free Deliveries: From 1 May to 31 May 2020, we are waiving the delivery fee for customers on all orders to further drive demand to local restaurants.
- Essential products: We have accelerated our plans for essential items and convenience deliveries on Uber Eats and we are also pursuing new services to provide on-demand and scheduled delivery solutions to consumers and businesses
- Uber Eats desktop assistance: we are making it easier for customers who do not have a smartphone, to order via desktop.
- Financial assistance: Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID‑19, or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority due to a risk of spreading the virus, can be eligible for up to 14 days of financial assistance while their account is on hold.
- Creating more work opportunities: We quickly adapted our technology to offer Uber Direct to businesses struggling with high delivery demands, they can now use our network of drivers and delivery partners to move goods within their supply chain, between locations and into the hands of their customers. Since Monday 6 April, Uber Eats has partnered with essential service providers to help deliver essential, everyday products such as groceries, toiletries and certain medication.
- COVID-19 Resources Hub and supplies: We have rolled out a number of new features and policies to help ensure their health and well-being while operating across our platform, including info in-app, no-contact delivery, providing sanitiser and PPE reimbursements, and more. We have launched in-app COVID-19 Resources Hub for drivers and delivery people, where they can find the latest safety information and other resources for driving and delivering during this unprecedented period. The hub will be available globally and is the go-to spot for safety tips, help with applying for financial relief, and information on additional earning opportunities.
- Government assistance: We have created an in-app hub with the latest government financial relief resources, ensuring they stay informed directly in the Driver app. We are also actively advocating provincial and national governments that any relief funds, enacted in response to the coronavirus, benefit all independent contractors and freelancers whether they are taxi drivers, freelancers, or driver/courier on Uber
Supporting our communities:
- 10M free rides and deliveries: Globally we have committed to provide 10 million rides and meal deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors and people in need, free of charge. In South Africa we are providing meals, medication and rides to various partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and SA Harvest.
- Supporting domestic violence organisations: We are also partnering with domestic violence organisations and local governments in 35 cities across 16 countries to provide 50,000 free rides to shelters and safe spaces, and more than 45,000 free meals. We’ve expanded longstanding partnerships and initiated new ones such as Nissa Institute for Women’s Development in Johannesburg. We’re extremely grateful for their tireless efforts to support our communities during this especially difficult time.
- Supporting healthcare workers: We have launched Uber Medic to support frontline workers with discounted rides..
We’re ready to work with more cities, food banks, hospitals and others around the world to move whatever matters most to them. Organisations and governmental entities looking for support can submit their request directly through this form.
Our team is working around the clock to do everything we can to support the communities we serve. We will continue to invest in measures that are sustainable for all, and that will help restaurant partners to attract customers and increase order volumes while ensuring earning opportunities for delivery people using our app.
As a business we will continue to take actions that support delivery people, customers, and our business partners, both large and small.