Lyft drivers might start delivering food and medical supplies to help during the coronavirus outbreak, company says

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  • Lyft is reportedly considering expanding its business into delivery of food and medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • A Lyft spokesperson said the company is exploring ways to make “safe earning opportunities” available to contractors other than rideshare driving, Bloomberg first reported.
  • It would be the first time Lyft has offered food delivery on its platform, following in the steps of competitors like Uber.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Lyft is exploring the possibility of letting its drivers deliver food and medical supplies, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Demand for delivery has surged amid the coronavirus outbreak. Companies across the US have transitioned to work from home in an attempt to slow the rate of infection, while cities including New York and San Francisco have ordered that restaurants cease sit-in service and allow only take-out or delivery.

A Lyft spokesperson told Business Insider that the company was looking to expand “safe earning opportunities” for its contractors other than rideshare driving, which may come in the form of government or healthcare partnerships.

“This is an unprecedented situation for all industries and communities, and our focus is on helping keep our riders, drivers, and team members safe. We are working hard to support those who drive with Lyft and are coordinating with government officials on additional solutions,” the Lyft spokesperson said.

The company also announced Tuesday that it would suspend pooled rides, as did its main competitor, Uber.

Rideshare drivers, like delivery workers, face a unique set of risks amid the COVID-19 outbreak – while their work demands that they come into contact with dozens of strangers daily, their status as contractors bars them from company-wide benefits like health insurance.

The shift to delivery would be a new venture for Lyft, which has historically only offered rideshare services even as Uber branched into food delivery in 2014.