COVID-19: Social distancing & options for home-delivered groceries in Sri Lanka

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On the 23rd of March, the government announced an island-wide curfew. The decision, while sudden, was made as part of its efforts to fight COVID-19. Now, the curfew is periodically being lifted for a brief window across the island. Albeit at different times. 

For the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi & Jaffna, the curfew will be lifted tomorrow (24th of March) at 6:00 am and reimposed at Noon. The curfew will be lifted again in these districts on Friday (27 of March) at 6:00 am and reimposed at Noon. 

Meanwhile, for the rest of the island, the curfew was lifted earlier today and was reimposed at 2:00 pm. It’ll be in place until Thursday (26th of March) when it’ll be lifted at 6:00 am and reimposed at Noon. 

Naturally, it’s expected that when the curfew lifts, there will be crowds at supermarkets seeking to buy essential groceries. Of course, with the current pandemic, having to deal with this isn’t ideal. As we’ve discussed before, social distancing has been our best weapon in this fight against COVID-19. Yet, not everyone can afford to do so, especially when there’s no food on the table.

Thankfully, some organizations are stepping forward to extend their services. Now more than ever, home delivery has become crucial, and these entities are promising to drop the essentials you need at your doorstep. So we decided to make a list of these services that you can utilize,  while at the comfort of your home.

PickMe for gas, bread, and groceries

Currently, PickMe, a local ride-hailing app, is offering 3 services for you to get your essentials at this time. Firstly, PickMe has received permission to deliver LP gas during the curfew. The service is available to anyone living in a 6km radius from the Litro Gas outlets in Nugegoda, Ratmalana, Pelawatte, and Colombo 02. Secondly, the company will be delivering grocery packs to anyone within 6km of the Glomark in Kottawa. 

PickMe is also working with Perera & Sons, a local bakery chain, to deliver sliced bread, garlic bread, strawberry buns and parata. This service will be available to anyone within a 6km radius from the Perera & Sons outlet in Rajagiriya.

Lassana Flora takes on groceries now

You probably know Lassana Flora as a well-known florist. With the current circumstances, the company announced that it would be delivering groceries too. You can place orders via the Lassana Flora website or by calling them on 011 200 1122. The service is limited to the core essentials of fruits, vegetables, and spices. The company has said deliveries will be free of charge within Colombo and its suburbs. 

COVID-19 | Sri Lanka | Groceries
Recently, Lassana Flora announced that it’d be delivering groceries as well

Get your organic produce from Saaraketha

Another option for you to get your organic fruits and vegetables is Saaraketha, a supplier of organic produce. The company announced that it would be undertaking deliveries on Tuesday (24th of March). Their range of products includes fruits, vegetables, soaps, and oils. You can place your orders online on the Saaraketha website. Alternatively, you can also place your orders via email to [email protected] or WhatsApp on 0774367792 / 0766110428. 

COVID-19 | Saaraketha | Groceries | Sri Lanka
Saaraketha is accepting orders to deliver organic produce on the 24th of March

QuickHelp & Watchdog offers a helping hand

QuickHelp, a marketplace for local services, alongside WatchDog, a local fact-checking service, announced their aim to start delivering groceries to those in need. The service will be limited to delivering dry goods, fruits, vegetables, and sanitization products. Further, the companies hope to work with businesses supplying these goods, which have been hit hard by the sudden economic disruption. So if you know anyone that needs essential goods or suppliers that could use the business, then fill out the Google Form by clicking here and the team from QuickHelp will get in touch.

Delivery of essential goods in Colombo during COVID-19

http://quickhelp.lk/covid-19The team at WatchDog Sri Lanka and QuickHelp are coming together to help deliver goods to people that can't get out of the house due to the prevailing curfew conditions. We're currently working together with local authorities to deliver these goods (Dry goods, vegetables, sanitation products) taking necessary precautions.This isn't a complete fix, but if we can help reduce the lines at the markets during the curfew breaks as well as have less people moving around we think we're contributing positively to reduce the spread of COVID-19If you have friends and family that need supplies, or you know retailers, distributors and suppliers of these goods please have them fill out this form so we can get these services up and running as soon as possible. We're doing some trial runs over the next few days but plan on getting these deliveries in full-swing quickly.Please stay safe and stay indoors.

Posted by Bhanuka Harischandra on Monday, March 23, 2020

What you should keep in mind during your grocery runs

The above-listed options allow you to place orders for the bare essentials. In the event you need to go to a supermarket, then be sure to take the necessary precautions. That begins by not taking the entire family with you for grocery shopping. Unless you’re sick or elderly, go by yourself. Be sure to wear a mask when heading out. If you have sick or elderly neighbours check if they need anything. Alternatively, you can reach out to the Community Crisis Response Team, a volunteer community group we covered in a previous article that’s helping those vulnerable to COVID-19 get the supplies they need.

COVID-19 | Arpico | Groceries
To help reduce time spent during grocery runs, Arpico introduced a set of pack and go bags with a standard collection of groceries

If you want to avoid queues, Arpico has announced readily available bags of staple goods you can pick up and go. Otherwise, supermarkets have announced they’ll only be letting in a limited amount of customers at a given time. Further, each customer will get approximately 20 minutes to shop inside. Maintain a distance of 1-2 meters between other shoppers and wait patiently in a queue until you’re let in. Afterwards, grab only what you need and get out. Remember that buying 20 bars of Lifebuoy won’t protect you from COVID-19. You need other people washing their hands too. 

Once you’re back home, follow the guidelines from the Health Ministry. Remove your mask, put it in a plastic bag, and then throw it away. Don’t interact with members of your family. Immediately remove your clothes and head to the shower. Soak your clothes in soapy water and then have them washed. Take a shower and make sure to clean your face and hands thoroughly with soap. Only after doing all that should you resume interacting with others.

COVID-19: Social distancing & options for home-delivered groceries in Sri Lanka 2

All of that might sound like a lot of work. But such are the times we’re living in. If you choose to go to a supermarket tomorrow, you may find it to be understaffed. Regardless, these employees will be there to ensure you get what you need. Similarly, the health authorities are doing a tireless job to keep COVID-19 at bay. So it’s our responsibility to do our part in this fight to prevent a mass outbreak.

A test for local eCommerce

Over the years, we’ve seen several startups trying to tackle the challenge of grocery delivery. Yet, none have been able to overcome the idea of going to the supermarket. With COVID-19 forcing us to stay indoors, that could potentially change. Of course, this requires the services to offer a smooth experience with quick delivery. For many of them, the 6 hours after the curfew is lifted will be a tough test. One that we hope they’ll pass.

Are there any other services that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: We haven’t tried the above-listed services ourselves. We’re sharing this list to inform you of the options available for you to consider. We do not bear any responsibility for any lapses or losses incurred by using these services.

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