Tech Companies Respond as Workers, SMBs Face Covid-19 Pressure

Don’t hold your breath on that site from Google that President Trump said would direct people to coronavirus testing sites. In turns out that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner may have oversold the plan, which is more ambitious than Google’s actual intent to launch a site that will provide Americans basic information about the virus.

But Google’s sister site Verily did launch a site, albeit with logistical difficulties, to help Bay Area residents find testing options, and Verily isn’t the only tech company facing or alleviating coronavirus concerns. As a possible recession looms, consumer spending dips, and employees are sent home for public safety, some vendors are stepping in to help workers weather the storm. Others are boosting small businesses, hiring and increasing pay for workers, and suspending precarious services.

Fintech provider DailyPay allows workers across healthcare, retail, hospitality, and transportation, among other industries, to access their usual pay on a daily basis instead of waiting until every other Friday for a paycheck.

Now, with emergency expenses liable to pop up amid the Covid-19 outbreak, 43% of employees using DailyPay are accessing funds early to contend with coronavirus-related expenses, according to the company. The number of employees with access to DailyPay now relying on it to stockpile supplies or address other expenses pertinent to the virus jumped 400% from Saturday to today.

GrubHub is offering a different kind of relief. The company announced Friday that it would delay collecting as much as $100 million in commission fees from restaurants to help them stay afloat while dine-in spending drops dramatically. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced yesterday that they would ban dine-in restaurant service but allow take-away and delivery orders to continue. More states and cities are sure to follow.

Also in the delivery space, Amazon announced it would address increased demand for products that can be acquired without going to brick-and-mortar stores by hiring for 100,000 new full-time and part-time roles in its warehouses and delivery network. The company is also increasing pay for delivery workers by two dollars per hour in the US, two pounds per hour in the UK, and about two euros per hour in a number of EU countries.

Uber, meanwhile, is suspending its Pool service in the US and Canada. This came after an organization of drivers demanded ride-hail companies make the change to protect passengers and drivers from contagion. Uber also expanded its paid sick leave policy for drivers.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.