A concerned father was in disbelief after receiving a text message from an Uber Eats delivery driver, informing him that his food order would be left on his doorstep due to the driver having Covid-19.
The meal in question, Brady Wishnowsky explained, was intended as a Friday night treat from McDonald's for his immunocompromised son Kaiden, however it never made it to the table.
Instead, the meal ended up in the bin as a precautionary measure, knowing the nine-year-old had suffered quite severely with a prior bout of Covid. During his own battle with the virus, Mr Wishnowsky had teetered on the brink of hospitalisation.
Expressing his concerns to news publication Stuff, the disappointed New Zealand dad said he knows you don't need to isolate now, "but when you're working with food, it's a no-brainer".
Legal mandates for isolation have been lifted in New Zealand, but it remains a global health recommendation that individuals who test positive for Covid engage in a self-isolation period of at least five days, even if symptoms are mild.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand says Covid is a respiratory disease and not a foodborne disease. "There’s no evidence to suggest people will get infected by swallowing the virus in, or on, food or drink," the authority says.
Driver's actions raise concerns
While Mr Wishnowsky admitted to being grateful for the Uber Eats worker's attempt at a contactless delivery, he ultimately felt the driver shouldn't have been working at all.
"My instant thought was, if that's the case, why the heck are you delivering food that you've had to go into a restaurant to pick up and then sit it in the car with you?" he said.
Mr Wishnowsky says the experience became even more exasperating when he tried to get answers from Uber Eats. He raised a complaint through both the app and over the phone, and was redirected to a specialist support team.
"I said this is a food safety issue," Mr Wishnowsky explained. "In my opinion, it's no different to someone having gastro."
Despite eventually being offering a refund, Mr Wishnowsky said he was not provided with an explanation. "I've got no plans to use them again at the moment, it's put my trust off," he said.
Uber Eats confirms its Covid policy
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for Uber said the company adheres to government guidelines around Covid and discourages Uber Eats delivery drivers from working while infected.
"Across Australia and New Zealand, Uber follows the Government's public health advice on Covid-19. Throughout the pandemic Uber introduced and updated its policies, app features, reporting functions, and guidance to align with current public health advice," the spokesperson said.
"While all Covid-19 isolation requirements have now been removed, we recommend that all delivery partners follow public health advice, and we continue to provide them with up-to-date information as this changes. We encourage delivery partners who feel unwell, for whatever reason, to stay at home."
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