Contxto – Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear medical coats and are caught in the eye of the storm: hospitals with potential patients infected with coronavirus (Covid-19). Other heroes bear aprons and are hard at work in restaurant kitchens to ensure there’s ready-made food for those who can’t stay home.

And while not everyone is made for these professions, there are startups that want to help these personnel however they can.

And (I suppose) that’s why last week last-mile delivery unicorns Colombian Rappi and Brazilian iFood each announced their approaches to the pandemic. Rappi will be delivering free meals to doctors in the Latam countries where it operates.

iFood for its part stated that it launched a fund for its independent delivery partners. Plus, it has a relief initiative in store for restaurants registered on its platform.

Related article: Rappi, iFood, and Uber Eats: The winners of the coronavirus pandemic?

Serving up meals to medics

Last Thursday (19) Rappi announced that it will be delivering 500,000 meals for free to hospital staff in Latin America where it has operations. All they need to do is shoot an email to [email protected] for more information on how to sign up.

The only condition is that they be within the startup’s delivery service range.

A doctor’s gotta eat after all.

Related article: As Latam balances protests and pandemics, Colombia launches Coronapp

iFood is hungry to help?

Meanwhile, iFood as of April 2 will implement measures to help both its deliverers and the restaurants hosted on its platform.

On the one hand, it’s tagged R$1 million (about US$194,000) to be distributed among its delivery partners who are suspected or are infected with the coronavirus. The amount they’ll receive is based on the average they earned in deliveries prior to being put into quarantine.

It’s also allocated R$50 million (US$9.7 million) for restaurants, with special emphasis on smaller-sized ones. Specifically, the startup will reduce the commissions it charges them to give their profits a little more room.

In addition, iFood will speed up its payments to its partnering restaurants. As a result, it will be cutting down the process from 30 days to a mere seven for orders placed between April and May. This will help these businesses’ cash flow. 

The overall goal is to ensure restaurants keep running in spite of the slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, Rappi also stated it had seen a rise in delivery requests and pointed to the coronavirus outbreak as the likely cause. Although as I said then, and reiterate now, it is still too soon to tell. Perhaps by April there will be more clarity in the matter.

In the meantime, doctors may find some tiny relief in having been freed of Rappi’s delivery fee. But they’d probably further appreciate it if everyone stayed calm and more importantly, stayed home unless they show severe symptoms.

Moreover, it will also be worth seeing which restaurants in Brazil weather the storm. Surely iFood’s initiatives aren’t freebies but they do provide some much needed help.

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