Food delivery companies are advising customers not to pay for orders with cash to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Both Talabat and Deliveroo have rolled out contactless delivery options across the UAE for anyone who makes and pays for an order online.
Choosing that option allows for food to be delivered to a customer’s property and left outside the door.
The delivery driver would then contact the customer to let them know their food had arrived before leaving.
The companies said this would help eliminate the danger of infection being passed on by physical interaction between drivers and customers.
“We implore you, as a customer to pay online which means no physical cash needs to exchange hands, therefore making contactless delivery possible,” said Tomaso Rodriguez, Talabat's chief executive.
“By making delivery contactless for our customers and our riders, we are putting health first.
“Safety is our top priority at all times, especially in this current Covid-19 outbreak.”
He added that Talabat would also be distributing door hangers so customers could make drivers aware a contactless delivery was required.
An email was sent to Deliveroo customers in the UAE on Monday night with a message from the company’s founder Will Shu, explaining the measures being taken to ensure the safety of both drivers and customers.
“My absolute number one priority is the safety of customers, riders and restaurants, no matter what happens,” he said.
“All riders undergo temperature checks to ensure their safety and that of everyone they come into contact with, alongside a more robust illness reporting process to manage any suspected cases.”
Mr Shu also said the company had a dedicated team of experts on hand to answer any questions about coronavirus.
“We know that people’s day-to-day lives are disrupted right now because of coronavirus, and we’re working hard to ensure we provide the best service to you during this period,” he said.
“Our riders are at the heart of our business. In addition to all the health and safety measures we’re taking, we’re working with our agencies to ensure that our riders are supported during this time.”
He added that Deliveroo was actively working with local government authorities to seek regular advice to prepare for any outcome as the situation evolved.
“There’s a lot we still don’t know about Coronavirus, but health authorities have been clear that maintaining good hygiene is absolutely critical,” he said.
“The entire Deliveroo ecosystem is being held to strict hygienic standards, with regular updates and reminders being distributed to our riders and restaurants.
“We are working actively with suppliers to procure masks and sanitisers for riders as a pre-emptive health measure.”
The company has also sent guidelines to restaurants it is partnered with regarding the best practices to help minimise the risk of infection.