The world seemingly came to a halt in the past year. COVID-19 forced governments to close their borders and go into lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly illness. Businesses had to cease operations, and offices and schools were replaced with working and studying from home.
Not everyone was able to stay at home. Many workers had to continue going out to work despite the threat of the virus. Doctors, nurses, and other medical health workers are, of course, at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. They are risking their own health to save the lives of their patients.
Other frontliners also had to work ceaselessly during the pandemic. They are not at the hospital treating those infected, but they are serving essential functions nonetheless. They are the grocery store workers and, of course, the couriers and delivery drivers who have to continue working outside of their own homes to ensure that everyone else can get access to their needs despite the lockdowns.
They are heroes, too. The important roles they play allow everyone else to remain at home, safe and comfortable.
A Lifeline for Those Stuck at Home
The lockdowns meant that many people were prohibited from going out of their homes for nonessential travels. During the early weeks of the pandemic, hard-hit places like Italy and France imposed strict restrictions to slow the spread and eventually end the transmission of COVID-19. Most businesses aside from grocery stores and pharmacies were forced to close, too, to discourage any gathering of people.
Because the virus was highly transmissible, the stores that remained open became risky. People feared that they would catch the virus while buying food and medicine.
People who were above the age of 60 and those who have underlying illnesses are among those who are most affected. They were more susceptible to the virus and, therefore, needed to take more precautions. Unfortunately, not everyone had loved ones who lived nearby and were available to shop for them then drop supplies at their door.
It is for these people that the delivery drivers became essential in the fight against COVID-19. The truckers made sure that every store is well stocked with essential goods.
Those who could not go out made purchases online. They relied on couriers to deliver grocery items, medications, cleaning products, and other goods. People who send money to the Philippines from Hong Kong can even opt to have the cash delivered to the recipient’s home via a trusted courier service.
If, before the pandemic, work as couriers and delivery drivers were deemed unskilled, the global public health crisis just proved an important role in society. They are necessary for the survival of a lot of people.
The government of the United Kingdom named food delivery drivers as key workers alongside medical professionals and social workers.
Aiding Small Businesses Survive the Pandemic
The pandemic also led to widespread business closures. Over a hundred thousand businesses shut their doors in the past year across the United States. According to the World Economic Forum, 34 percent of small businesses are still closed due to COVID-19. Many of them are expected to never reopen again.
Some businesses remained in operations in the past year despite the pandemic. Those that had a strong online presence even before the public health crisis, or those who were able to adapt and place their goods and services online immediately, were able to survive the pandemic. It was only possible through their partners, couriers, and delivery drivers.
The existence of delivery services means that people can order food from the safety of their homes. Also, restaurants can continue to sell their food and keep their staff employed. It means that small businesses can continue to sell their goods to interested consumers anywhere and anytime. The closure of brick and mortar stores is only a setback, not a death sentence for many small businesses.
It, in a lot of ways, helped sustain economies. It enabled the growth of e-commerce in many countries, including Southeast Asia. It ensured that businesses that had to close down brick and mortar stores could continue selling their goods and services to customers. Delivery platforms such as UberEats, DoorDash, and Grab also created streams of income for those who may have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The pandemic forced people to stay at home. Movement was heavily restricted to prevent the spread of the virus. During this time, couriers and delivery drivers became essential to the survival of many people and small businesses worldwide.