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"Instacart has become an essential service for millions of families relying on us to help deliver their groceries and household goods in the wake of COVID-19," Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta said in a statement. "We recognize these are extraordinary times and we take our responsibility to safely serve shoppers and customers very seriously. We're focused on continuing to provide safe and flexible earnings opportunities for shoppers, while also making it possible for more families than ever before to access grocery delivery."
Instacart says it will begin daily wellness checks for shoppers through its app in order to monitor them for coronavirus symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If a shopper confirms having symptoms, they will immediately be logged off for the day and told to contact their physician.
Additionally, Instacart will roll out new in-app messaging to make it easier for shoppers to request a free health and safety kit containing personal protective equipment, including face masks and hand sanitizer.
The company will also offer an extension to its sick pay policy, which provides up to 14 days of pay for any full- or part-time employee who is directly or indirectly impacted by the coronavirus, through the duration of the pandemic. In-store teams will also receive an extension on coronavirus-related bonuses, which range from $25 to $200 based on the number of hours an employee works.
The new measures come following Instacart workers staging a walkout in March after demanding additional coronavirus protection, a $5-per-order hazard pay, changing the default tip minimum and an extension on the company's sick pay policy.
The company will also hire an additional 250,000 full-service shoppers over the next two months to help meet customer demand and get the company back to "one-hour and same-day delivery speeds".
"One month ago, Instacart announced that it was bringing on 300,000 new full-service shoppers and, in the weeks following that announcement, the company quickly met that goal, growing its shopper community to more than 500,000 people today," Mehta said. "With order volume growing by more than 500 percent year-over-year last week and average customer basket sizes increasing by 35 percent, the company plans to bring on more shoppers across North America to meet the continued surge in customer demand."
Instacart's additional full-service shoppers will be hired in areas with the most consumer demand, including California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, bringing the company's total workforce to 750,000 people.
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Instacart partners with more than 350 national, regional and local retailers, including Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam's Club, Sprouts, Walmart Canada and Wegmans to deliver from more than 25,000 stores in more than 5,500 cities in North America.