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Should I Continue to Deliver for Uber Eats, Grubhub and Doordash during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

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You may be asking the same thing: Does it make sense? Is it safe? Should I continue to deliver food for gig companies like Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates or others? What about grocery delivery like Instacart or Shipt? Or if you're an employee for Domino's, Papa John's, Jimmy Johns or countless others?

I'm not going to try to answer that for you because it's not my place to do so. All I can do is let you in on my thoughts around this question.

This is the week everything changed

I mean everything.

This isn't a blip. This isn't some little inconvenience and it'll be business as usual in a couple weeks or months. Our world is fundamentally different because of this.

There are so many places you can go with this, and a lot of it is a discussion for another time. The thing is, everything about what we do as contractors for these gig delivery apps has changed dramatically in just a few days.

Even the fundamental questions have changed.

One week ago, it was should I do Grubhub or Doordash? Is this a good side hustle? Is this a good fulltime gig? What about taxes?

For a lot of us now, it's starting to feel like a life or death question.

Is it even safe to keep delivering?

What are the risks?

I'm trying to get my head around that question.

Here's the thing that makes this hard to guage. It takes several days before symptoms show. What that means is that it's not about how many cases are known right now, but how many people have it that aren't showing symptoms? It's kind of like a ticking time bomb for a lot of people. It's one thing to avoid people who are already sick. That's a lot easier than avoiding people who have this thing but don't know it yet.

Twelve days ago, there were 100 cases in the US. Today we're just under 3,000. That's been about the same rate of growth in other countries. Why's that important? My understanding is there's about 12 days that you have this thing before the symptoms show up. I see that as of this morning there are 100 cases in Colorado. So I put two and two together and think that might mean there's about 3,000 people right now who have this little bugger that don't know it. That's still a small number compared to the overall population of the state, but it starts to get a little more real when you realize one in every 2,000 people you come in contact with may have this.

And the reality is that as the whole country starts to self isolate, to the point that they have no contact with the outside world, here we are going from restaurant to customer to restaurant to customer. Everyone else limits their exposure to one or two people a day, if that. We come face to face with several people every day. That's a little sobering.

However, and this is important: Exposure does not mean transmission.

Here's the thing I remind myself: That virus still has to get from them to me. More to the point, it has to find a point of entry into my body. I'm aware that they can sneeze or cough in my face, and there's not a lot I can do if that happens. At the same time, I'm thinking that the odds of that happening are low enough I'm not freaking out about it.

If I'm going to catch this thing, it's probably happening by my own hand. Literally. Somehow the little bugger has gotten onto my hand and made its way from there into my body. That's why they say not to touch your face. I'm realizing that's not easy. But if I'm limiting the opportunities for it to get on my hand, if I'm washing my hands regularly and frequently and I'm a little more cognizant of not touching my face, I'm reducing the odds dramatically.

And so it's a matter of balancing the risks

Here are the things I think about.

I'm healthy. I've been fortunate to have a strong immune system. I mentioned this in the podcast, my mom told me that as a little kid I ate dirt and bugs and all sorts of things, so maybe if I survived that I can survive anything? But my heart, my lungs, all of that are in good health. That means the risk of it being really severe if I do catch it is pretty low.

I also think about whether I'm creating risk for anyone else. Is there a danger if I bring this thing home? There's always a possibility that can happen. That said, my family is healthy and I'm not in regular contact with anyone who has a higher risk of severe issues if they catch this.

Can I afford to not be delivering? I keep a paid time off fund and I have some emergency savings. Thanks to Dave Ramsey for drilling that into my head. I could survive if I didn't work.

So is it worth the risk?

That's a damn good question.

For me, I intend to keep delivering.

I think there's a few reasons.

I've never felt like there was a real sense of mission when it comes to delivering food. This has always been a luxury service. It wasn't that I felt it was necessary for people to overpay for the food I bring them and oh, by the way, throw an extra five or ten dollars at me on top of it.

But I'm seeing something the past couple of days in peoples' reactions when I bring food to them. There's a sense of gratitude that I haven't seen, at least not at that level. I kind of wonder if it's that they appreciate getting a little bit of a sense of normalcy. The whole world is turning upside down but if someone shows up with a smile, I wonder if there's just some reassurance in having that happen. So I don't know, it makes me feel like I'm doing more than just providing a luxury, you know?

Maybe it's a stubbornness. Maybe it's me not wanting to be ruled by fear. It's not that I don't take this thing seriously, but I don't want to stop living either. I think there's a line where you can be safe, be smart, be clean and dramatically reduce the risk of exposure. At this point it's not as much a financial decision as it is a life going on decision.

What about you?

What will you do? Leave a comment or shoot me a note through the contact page.

I won't try to tell you what to do. I'm hoping that sharing my thought process helped you process things. All I can do is encourage you to think through what your own personal risks are, and how important this delivery is. I'm assuming you'll be smart about how you do things. I'm not sure there's a right or best decision. In the end, it really comes down to you.

Let me know your thoughts on this whole thing.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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