Coronavirus: Telangana bans Swiggy and Zomato till end of lockdown
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced a ban on the operations of food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato in the state until the end of the coronavirus lockdown. He added that the ongoing lockdown in the state may be extended to May 7.
As of now, the total number of coronavirus cases in India is believed to be over 17,000, with over 500 deaths and more than 2,000 recoveries.
Telangana has over 800 cases, with close to 20 deaths. The decision was taken after a food delivery partner tested positive for COVID-19. A 19-year old restaurant employee in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar tested positive for coronavirus, prompting authorities to quarantine 72 people whose homes he had made deliveries to.
Media reports said that 17 other delivery personnel, who had come in contact with the infected agent, had also been isolated at a facility in Chattarpur. But, so far, the infected person’s co-workers have tested negative for coronavirus, Zomato said in an older statement.
At the time of publishing this story, Zomato was yet to respond to email queries.
Swiggy added that while the food delivery services are no longer operational in Telangana, their grocery delivery is open in the state.
Even with Swiggy having Swiggy Stores, and Zomato offering Zomato Market, the app ban will be a big blow to the foodtech unicorns. Hyderabad is one of the biggest markets for foodtech players. Food delivery as a service has seen a 10-20 percent drop from the second week of March, according to a RedSeer report. The RedSeer report added that after an initial spike in the first week, food delivery declined in the second and the third week; it is expected to reduce further.
Order volumes have dropped, some states have deemed food delivery as “unessential”, and even where services are operational, multiple on-ground challenges persist.
In an earlier conversation with YourStory, Rohan Agarwal, Director, RedSeer Consulting, said two to three types of food delivery orders were currently impacted. This includes people who regularly travelled for business and leisure, and would occasionally order in instead of going out; and those who ordered at work (Zomato and Swiggy had successfully replaced lunch dabbas).
UPDATE: A Zomato Company spokesperson said: "Our delivery fleet is only second to India Post and we are committed to using it to serve the community in every way possible. We will continue to deliver groceries in Telangana and make sure these essentials reach our users safely. We are constantly training our delivery partners on safety and hygiene, and providing masks and sanitizers to them. We continue to ramp up our safety practices as we speak."
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)