With surges of COVID-19 all over the country, there’s a reason to be concerned about going out and being around other people. Now more than ever, people are depending on delivery drivers and couriers to get the things that they need such as food, supplies, or holiday presents. Since you're delivering, then you probably have your own set of concerns about doing your best work while still practicing pandemic protocol.
Delivery drivers and couriers have one of the highest transmission risk rates. Why? When your job requires you to interact with other people, your risk of encountering COVID-19 is higher than those who work from home. If you’re a driver, your clients are at risk too. Despite high transmission rates, there are many ways couriers can keep themselves and others safe. You can still stay healthy while getting essential items to people in your community.
How do I Protect Myself and my Customers?
The first and best line of defense is taking care of your own health. Make sure you get adequate rest, hydration, and nutrition during these anxiety-inducing times. Staying healthy is a valuable asset for life in general. Plus, just because you don’t have COVID-19, doesn’t mean that you still can’t get sick. And in the event that you contract COVID-19, you want a strong immune system that can adequately fight off severe symptoms.
Listen to your body and track your symptoms. If you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, dry throat, coughing, or trouble breathing, you should immediately isolate yourself and alert the people you’ve been around most recently.
Everyday Preventative Practices
The two most important practices to make second nature is wearing a face covering and washing your hands.
Face coverings help slow the spread of the virus because they stop you from inhaling viral matter. The fabric is enough to catch harmful particles while still allowing proper airflow. When you wear a protective face mask, you protect yourself and people around you. In the event that you are an asymptomatic carrier, the mask will prevent viral matter you exhale from being dispersed into the air for others to breathe in. While you’re in public, whether indoor or outdoor, keeping your mask on protects everyone.
Soap and warm water render viruses useless, so frequently washing your hands helps stop the spread. Create a routine in which you wash your hands before your shift, during your shift, and after the day is done. If you don’t have frequent access to a sink and soap, then you can keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer on you. When you purchase sanitizers, look for an alcohol solution of at least 60%. Those are the most effective at eliminating viral matter. Avoid going as high as 90%, as those can be harsh on the skin with repeated use.
Clean your hands after touching high-contact spots such as door handles, doorbells, steering wheels, gas pump handles, pens, touch pads, and anything that can be shared. Take time to clean your hands before and after you remove your face mask or touch your face. Wash your hands before your lunch break so if there is viral matter on your hands, it won’t infect you.
Wear latex gloves for your work day, and make sure to dispose of them properly so that potentially infected matter won’t be in your immediate surroundings. Keep multiple pairs on hand so that you can change gloves throughout the day. Also, it’s worth cleaning your hands with sanitizer or with soap and water before you put on new gloves and after taking off old ones. Gloves help cut down on how many times you have to wash your hands, so your skin won’t be as dry.
Limiting close contact with others also keeps you and your community safe. Avoiding non-essential, travel, and only gathering at a safe distance outside will significantly cut your risk of contracting the virus. Alert your customers you’ve completed their delivery virtually. Many companies will allow you to contact your customer directly so you can confirm the delivery has arrived. This eliminates the need for ringing doorbells and handing the cargo to another person.
If you drive independently, take care in cleaning and sanitizing your vehicle and your equipment. Carry delivery worker essentials such as sanitizing surface wipes to periodically wipe down all surfaces you come in contact with. If you drive for a company, they should provide cleaning services and equipment in order to best protect you and your colleagues. If this isn’t the case, then you have the right to demand COVID-19 protection.
What If I Do Catch COVID?
If you follow all the best practices to a tee and still get infected, what’s the best course of action?
Stay home and stay away from others, especially anyone that is particularly vulnerable to illnesses. You should continue to monitor your symptoms during your recovery process and recognize that even if you may start to feel better, you could still spread the virus to those you come in contact with.
Even if you aren’t ill, it’s best to still limit your contact with people. Asymptomatic carriers that feel perfectly fine could give you the virus, or you could be an asymptomatic carrier yourself! With that being said, you can still maintain social distancing while still getting the job done.
Navigating Your Day Safely
Limiting social contact also means spending as little time as possible out and about in public spaces. In order to get your deliveries done in a way that’s quick and efficient, you should make sure that you have the means to create a route that cuts down on time. Navigation apps like Straightaway make that possible.
Straightaway downloads your manifest and draws up a route that most efficiently and most quickly gets the deliveries done. When you work more efficiently, you can spend less time out in public and be physically distant from people. Plus, more efficient deliveries means you’re making other peoples’ lives just a little bit easier during these strange times.
When you pick up deliveries, opt for curbside pickup whenever possible. Spending less time indoors during these times keeps you safe. If outdoor curbside service isn’t possible, clean your hands or change your gloves after you’ve completed the pickup of the cargo.
- Wear a mask whenever you’re in public
- Clean your hands before, during, and after your shift
- Change gloves once an hour
- Avoid indoor activities with others
- Create a quick and efficient route
- Monitor your general health
- Isolate and recover if you contract the virus