With India experiencing a surge in fresh new cases of infections, it seems that the battle with coronavirus is far being over. To curb the infection spread, the Maharashtra government under the ‘Break the Chain’ initiative has released new Covid-19 guidelines to restrict people’s movement in social places. It has not been long since the e-commerce and food delivery companies have just begun to revive their businesses from the aftermath of the previous year’s 40-day lockdown.
Some of the Covid-19 guidelines released and their implications on the e-commerce industry
A night curfew would be in place across the state from 8pm to 7am and a weekend lockdown will start from Friday 8pm till Monday 7am. This imposition is a big blow to the food delivery sector since weekends are the time for relaxation where people order in. The imposition of lockdown and curfew will delay the shipments and food delivery. However, medicines and essential services are to remain open at all times.
To curb the infection spread, the Maharashtra government under the ‘Break the Chain’ initiative has released new Covid-19 guidelines to restrict people’s movement in social places.
All the delivery executives and personnel belonging to home delivery services and e-commerce delivery services to be vaccinated as per Government of India guidelines. Since the current government allows only people above 45 years to be vaccinated which indicates the compulsion that the delivery personnel will have to keep getting tested after every 15 days. The deadline for delivery executives to be vaccinated is April 10. The delivery personnel must carry a negative RT-PCR report that will remain valid for 15 days. Food aggregator companies such as Zomato and Swiggy will be bearing the costs of vaccination as well RT-PCR tests for their delivery fleet. The rising cases in Maharashtra, it will act as a double whammy since the waiting line for the RT-PCR test will be longer than usual, which will cause massive chaos for the delivery fleet as they cannot step out without the test, lowering the number of people in delivery and hindering business.
Penalties and Fines for e-commerce and food delivery
Food delivery personnel will be fined Rs 1000 for not conforming with the compliances and Rs 10,000 will be penalised on the establishment. For repeaters, their licence will be withdrawn. For the e-commerce delivery fleet penalty will cause withdrawal of license to operate till the notification of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The implications on e-commerce
The delivery fleet is the nerve of any e-commerce industry. With curfew imposition and prolonged waiting times for RT-PCR tests, the e-commerce industry will be facing massive headwinds. Till then the industry needs to rework on its delivery mechanism where the person does not need to travel much and delivers for addresses that are close to his /her residence. Besides, these e-commerce companies must try to schedule and complete maximum deliveries in the daytime for smooth operations. In such testing times, e-commerce companies need to take care of the health and safety of their personnel as well.