E-commerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart will be allowed to deliver only essential goods in Delhi for one week, the state government announced on March 19 as it imposed a week-long state-wide curfew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there was no explicit definition of essential goods, as per the statement issued by the Delhi government, delivery of goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment will be allowed.
The Arvind Kejriwal government has joined the league of many other states such as Maharastra and Tamil Nadu which have also announced lockdowns in the last few days.
Curfew has been imposed in Delhi with effect from 10:00 pm on April 19 to 5 am on April 26.
While delivery as well as take away of food from restaurants will be allowed, the delivery executives will have to procure passes to facilitate their movement.
Dine-ins; however, will not be allowed at restaurants.
"The concerned district magistrates shall be responsible for issuance of e-passes for above activities and for overall implementation of these measures in their respective jurisdiction," the government said in a statement.
The development happens despite online retailers and food-tech companies getting their delivery executives regularly tested for COVID-19.
Advocating for opening up e-tailing for non-essential items as well, Amazon said that e-commerce was the safest way to serve consumers.
“Currently, we are enabling deliveries of essential products in line with new guidelines set by the government. However, we have learnt from customers over the last one year that urgent needs vary across households and it is challenging to define a static essentials list. We request the Delhi Government to allow delivery and inter / intra state movement of all products to enable people to maintain social distancing norms. Ecommerce is the safest way to serve consumers' needs while supporting livelihoods of lakhs of small and medium businesses including the local shops," said Amazon India spokesperson.
Online grocery firm Grofers said that so far there hasn't been any last mile challenge and that the company was ramping up its capacities both in terms of sticks and workforce.
"Since the announcement, we are witnessing orders more than double across the region. While there might be some consumer anxiety and panic buying, we reassure our consumers that in case the state governments take additional precautions to control the spread of COVID-19, our seller partners have sufficient stock of all products to serve everyone," said the company spokesperson.