Food delivery specialist Deliveroo is to enable contactless delivery to customers in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.

Deliveroo will introduce the service next week, TechCrunch has reported. Customers will be able to have their orders dropped off at their doors without the need for any contact with a courier.

A Deliveroo spokesman said: “At Deliveroo we are taking action to keep our customers, riders and restaurants safe. To make our delivery service even safer we are introducing a no-contact, drop-off service.”

The initiative mirrors similar services introduced by businesses such as Instacart in the USA and a number of businesses in China in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has now been declared a pandemic.

Deliveroo said it is prepared in the event that any of its riders are infected with the virus or have to self-isolate on medical advice. It has created a fund to support any couriers affected with payments above statutory sick pay requirements for 14 days. It will also provide hand sanitiser for them.

The spokesman said: ”Riders’ safety is a priority and we want to make sure those who are impacted by this unprecedented virus and cannot work are supported. Deliveroo will provide support for riders who are diagnosed with the virus or who are told to isolate themselves by a medical authority.” 

Contactless delivery is understood to be among options being considered by a variety of retailers as they seek to adapt to the impact of coronavirus on their operations and customers.