More Opportunity for Delivery Amid New COVID Restrictions

Rising COVID-19 cases in several states have led to lockdown measures being reinstated, providing more opportunity for delivery and online shopping.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions, some of which target restaurants and bars, reported NBC New York (Nov. 12). Restaurants and bars must close dining areas at 10 p.m.  but can still offer curbside food-only pickup afterward.

Cuomo cited bars and restaurants, as well as gyms and house parties, as being primary spreaders of the virus.

The announcement was met with dismay from restaurants and their advocates.  Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association said the move is “a huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat”.

Similar measures were put in place for restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and casinos in neighboring New Jersey. Businesses that serve food or drinks will not be able to operate their indoor premises between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., reported (Nov. 10).

However, outdoor dining can continue after 10 p.m., as well as takeout and delivery. Casinos will not be able to serve food or drinks between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for room service delivered to guest rooms and takeout. Seating at the physical bar in the indoor areas of bars and restaurants will also be prohibited during all operating hours.

Additionally, indoor dining was shut down in San Francisco as the city rolled back reopenings amid a spike in COVID cases, reported SF Examiner (Nov. 10).

Restaurants were previously permitted to start serving indoors at 25% capacity on Sept. 30, but plans to allow them to serve at 50 percent capacity were put on hold in late October and now indoor dining must cease altogether, effective 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13.

Meanwhile, as more people will be turning to delivery, ride-hailing company Lyft is looking to take a slice out of the market. The company revealed it was working on a new food delivery service as it works to make up for a 48% drop in quarterly revenue, reported Reuters (Nov. 10).

Unlike rival firm Uber, Lyft currently has no food delivery business to fall back on as trips decline and sales drop. Company president John Zimmer noted the company was looking to offer delivery services for restaurants without launching a full-fledged consumer-facing platform for food delivery.

“What we’re hearing from restaurants is they’re looking for a partner who will not charge 30% commission, but still offer delivery service,” Zimmer said and added that the service would offer new income opportunities for its drivers.

In October, Lyft revealed a partnership with GrubHub that allows Lyft’s loyalty-program members free restaurant delivery from restaurants on the app.