Instacart offers its shoppers free telehealth services; new mask policy

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Instacart is providing virtual COVID-19 screenings and medical consultations for its shoppers, and also enacting new mask regulations. 

The on-demand delivery platform is partnering with telehealth services provider Doctor On Demand. As part of this program, any Instacart shopper experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may take Doctor On Demand's online assessment to determine if they should seek additional medical attention. 

Based on the results of the assessment, shoppers can schedule a free telemedicine appointment with a Doctor On Demand clinician to discuss whether they should get tested. Instacart will cover the cost of the visit. If a shopper is clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 by the healthcare provider, they will continue to be eligible to receive up to 14 days of extended pay. 

This program, which marks the national rollout of a successful program Instacart piloted in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., earlier this summer will last until the end of 2020. Instacart has also offered shoppers additional mobile health measures, including a daily, in-app wellness check designed to help survey shoppers for any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Instacart is also enacting new health and safety measures by calling on all shoppers to wear face masks in stores and when they come in contact with customers, and asking customers to do the same. To date, Instacart says it has distributed nearly 450,000 health and safety kits to shoppers, with more kits shipping every week. 

Since April, the company says it has invested more than $20 million to support shoppers' health and safety, supporting new policies, guidelines, product features, resources, increased bonuses, and personal protective equipment for shoppers. In addition to consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refine policies, products, and education, Instacart has also consulted with a team of health and safety experts, including an epidemiologist, a professor specializing in microbial risk modeling, and a medical doctor specializing in infectious diseases.

"As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across North America, we're taking additional steps to create a safe experience for customers and shoppers,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart. “Beginning today, we're rolling out a new policy asking both shoppers and customers to wear a face mask. We believe the simple act of wearing a face mask can help save lives and keep our loved ones, neighbors, and others in our communities safe."

Instacart has partnered with more than 400 national, regional and local retailers to deliver from more than 30,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America.