In light of the rising coronavirus cases in the state, the Maharashtra government recently issued several curfew-like curbs. As part of this, the government had stated that all establishments and public spaces will remain closed, except for essential services that will function between 7am and 8pm on working days. While restaurants have been shut, food delivery was allowed throughout the state. However, there appeared to be some ambiguity regarding the time period in which these deliveries could be carried out.
In this regard, Deepinder Goyal, Zomato founder and CEO, wrote on Twitter, “Zomato is prepared to provide the essential food delivery service post 8pm in Mumbai, but we are not doing so because we are abiding by the letter of the law.”
Along with the post, Goyal posted a screenshot showing Zomato competitor Swiggy allowing deliveries past the 8pm curfew. “I see our competition is continuing to operate post 8pm. I urge Mumbai Police to please clarify the way forward here,” he added.
The police department was quick to clear the air and responded to the comment by saying, “Kindly read the government notification. It says that home delivery is allowed but there is no time limit specified.”
Soon after, Goyal tweeted that Zomato had received a clarification, sharing updated guidelines from a Mumbai municipal corporation official. The guidelines said “all online home deliveries of food and essential supplies (e-commerce) through all online service providers like Zomato, Swiggie [sic] etc., are allowed to operate 24 hours on all days of the week.” In the same tweet, Goyal apologised to Swiggy, saying “I am sorry, had no other choice. I love you.”
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his address via social media, had said that the state government has allowed the e-commerce delivery of essential goods and services, which included food delivery. Groceries, vegetables, fruits, dairy, bakery, and confectionery products, and all types of foods fall under essential services under the curfew rule. However, it was specified that all delivery executives must have tested negative for COVID-19.
With regard to home deliveries, the circular had also mentioned, “All the home deliveries to buildings housing more than one family are expected to be restricted to the entrance of the building and internal movement of the delivery should be by a dedicated staff of the building. It is also expected that all the interactions of home delivery staff and the building personnel are disciplined and COVID appropriate.”
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