Good news to all foodies: It's business as usual for food delivery services Grab Food and Foodpanda.
Earlier today, March 17, 2020, both food delivery platforms announced the temporary suspension of their services, in compliance with guidelines set for the enhanced community quarantine imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government is implementing a ban on public and private transportation throughout Luzon from March 16 to April 13.
Grab Philippines President Brian Cu was quick to respond with a post on his Facebook page.
It read: "Alinsunod sa directive ng DOTr regarding sa Enhanced Community Quarantine na ipapatupad sa Luzon, nais po naming ipagbigay alam sa inyo na lahat ng ating mga Grab services—GrabCar, GrabTrike, GrabFood, GrabExpress, etc.—sa buong Luzon ay pansamantala po nating ihihinto starting March 17, 12MN upang pahalagahan ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng bawat isa."
Foodpanda, meanwhile, quickly informed its users, through a notification on the app, that read: "We're unavailable right now. Foodpanda has suspended its services in Luzon until further notice..."
However, following a discussion with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), both Grab Food and Foodpanda have confirmed that they are back—taking orders and delivering them, nationwide.
Cu made the announcement in another Facebook post uploaded at 1:44 p.m. today.
GrabFood & GrabExpress: "Matapos po ang aming assessment at pakikipag-ugnayan sa pamahalaan, nais ko pong i-share sa inyo na muli na pong magpapatuloy ang operations ng GrabFood at GrabExpress sa ating mga service areas sa Luzon upang matulungan ang ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mga pang-araw araw na pangangailangan tulad ng pagkain, gamot, at iba pang necessities."
Foodpanda did the same on its own Facebook account.
Foodpanda: "As clarified by the leadership of the Department of Trade and Industry, foodpanda is allowed to operate along with other food services platforms as providers of basic necessities.
"In light of this recent mandate, we would like to reassure you that foodpanda continues to operate as usual with free delivery on every order."
ONLINE PAYMENTS ARE ENCOURAGED
To avoid direct contact with anyone who can be a possible carrier of COVID-19, Foodpanda urges its customers to pay electronically.
Its Facebook post reads: "We also encourage you to switch to online payment.
"That way, we can easily keep unnecessary human interactions to a minimum."
According to ABS-CBN News, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez explained how the scheme is similar to the "no contact" policy being practiced in similar areas under quarantine.
"Under a 'no contact' delivery scheme, the customer and the delivery crew are not allowed to transact directly," the ABS-CBN reprt said.
"Packages will have to be placed at the customer's gate and/or reception area, while payments should be done online or placed in envelopes that will be picked up by the delivery crew."
The Trade secretary added, "At least may hanapbuhay pa din ang mga MSMEs (micro small enterprises) natin. Iyong delivery din, may hanapbuhay pa din ang mga courier."
less riders available for delivery
GrabFood, however, is reducing the number of its riders.
Cu stated in his Facebook post, "Alinsunod sa patakaran ng pamahalaan ukol sa Enhanced Community Quarantine, skeletal delivery fleet muna po ang ating pahihintulutan na bumiyahe."