The civic body has further stated that delivery agents must strictly follow protocols of 'contactless delivery'.

news Coronavirus Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 13:27

The Greater Chennai Corporation has directed e-commerce companies that have services in Chennai to deliver only essentials, including food and groceries. It has further stated that delivery agents must strictly follow protocols of 'contactless delivery'. This includes companies such as Grofers, Big Basket and Amazon. 

Amongst the guidelines given to ensure contactless delivery are – personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, caps for employees right from production to delivery; and deliveries to be made at final location without any contact with the person accepting the order.

“Companies that break those protocols at any point of inspection will be barred from delivering further,” warned Corporation Commissioner G Prakash.

The Commissioner further stated, "Cooked food distribution by any agency or volunteers is totally banned and if anyone is found to do so will be dealt with by provisions of law. It will in itself scone a source of spread of the virus."

The entire country is currently under lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus and the Prime Minister said on Tuesday that essential services will continue to function. However there have been differences in what the state has classified as essential and what the Centre has classified as the same. This has led to e-commerce services that provide groceries including Big Basket and Grofers to face problems across the country.

Delivery executives have been stopped and questioned by the police, halted from delivering and even beaten up in certain cases. 

Meanwhile e-commerce giant Flipkart has suspended services temporarily, while Amazon has decided to deliver only essentials.

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Flipkart said in a statement that, "We are prioritising the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of the local governments and police authorities to meet the needs of our customers as they stay home during this lockdown."

Amazon on its website, meanwhile, has stated, “To serve customers’ most urgent needs while also ensuring the safety of our associates, we are prioritizing all our resources to service products that are currently high priority for customers. Other products are temporarily unavailable for purchase."