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Uber, Lyft, DoorDash considering coronavirus fund for quarantined drivers

Cortney Moore

Major ridesharing and food delivery services are reportedly considering funds to alleviate hardships for drivers that are impacted by coronavirus quarantines throughout the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Insiders told the publication that companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., DoorDash Inc., Postmates Inc. and Instacart Inc. are exploring options that would help these drivers in light of mounting pressure to provide more employment benefits. People familiar with the discussions told The Wall Street Journal that negotiations are in progress and will be revealed in a few days.

"We are supporting drivers and delivery people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine by a public health authority. Drivers and delivery people in these situations will receive compensation for a period of up to 14 days," Uber's Senior Vice President of Rides and Platform Andrew Macdonald told FOX Business. "This has already begun in some markets and we are working to implement mechanisms to do this worldwide. We believe this is the right thing to do."

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus being transferred from Uber driver to rider, according to the company – which comes a day after an Uber driver from New York tested positive for the virus. The company did not reveal how it will calculate pay for quarantined drivers.

Uber has reportedly compensated five drivers in the U.K. and Mexico, insiders shared with The Wall Street Journal.

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A representative from the competing rideshare service Lyft told FOX Business, "We can't confirm the WSJ story other than what they wrote about what our spokesperson said: 'A Lyft spokeswoman said the company had also decided to provide funds to drivers infected or quarantined by a public health authority.'"

Earlier in the week, though, Lyft’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Roberts said the company had set a record on rides and revenue due to people opting for private cars over public transportation. In his own words, "When you're packed against people and you hear distant coughing, I think there's nothing worse in terms of the human psyche right now because there's just so much fear."

In the food delivery world, Instacart is considering policy updates to ensure the health and safety of its drivers and customers. And at the same time, the company's sales growth reportedly accelerated 10-fold in one week as more people have stockpiled food and other items.

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"DoorDash's task force is actively working to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to protect the health and safety of our community in response to the spread of COVID-19, including exploring options with our peer companies to compensate Dashers affected by the novel coronavirus," a DoorDash spokesperson told FOX Business.

FOX Business reached out Postmates but did not immediately hear back at the time of publication. However, the company reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that it is considering support for driver health check-ups. It has also allowed drivers to do delivery drop-offs in the last week to limit contact between customers and drivers, according to the publication.

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 107,700 around the globe and has resulted in over 3,650 deaths at the time of publication, according to the Johns Hopkins live tracker. In the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak has reached 437.

These growing numbers have contributed to concern among drivers who are more often than not are considered independent contractors and don't received paid leave.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., wrote to the chief executives of these aforementioned ridesharing and food delivery platforms to ensure "that economic uncertainty will not be deterrents to their workers following public health guidance" on Friday.

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Additionally, an online petition was started on the workforce community app Gig Workers Rising on Saturday, which has received hundreds of signatures thus far.

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