#UnsungHeroes: Dubai delivery man ensures you #StayHome

UAE, covid-19,  #StayHome, Coronavirus

Masks and gloves are his weapons against Covid-19 as he hits the road with his bike to do food deliveries .

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 6:15 AM

Last updated: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 11:10 PM

Restaurant dine-ins have been shut across the country to ensure people don't step out of their houses during the coronavirus-enforced closures. However, deliveries and takeaway of meals continue with full force.
A delivery guy for past 15 years, 42-year-old Murali Shambantham is grateful that he is able to support a family of four back in Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu, India. Murali never thought he would face such unprecedented times and continues with his regular job. Masks and gloves are his weapons against Covid-19 as he hits the road with his bike to do food deliveries for Aappa Kadai Restaurant.
Is he worried about the elevated risk of exposure from people who are seemingly asymptomatic? "Someone needs to do this job," said Murali. "I know it can be contracted through cough droplets or by touching infected surfaces. Therefore, I make sure to wear gloves and mask to protect myself, apart from regularly sanitising hands even after I park my bike. I also maintain a certain physical distance and lean forward to handover the parcel.
"Food is an essential item. How can you deprive someone of food? If we don't step up, how will people who do not have running kitchens in their homes eat?" he added.
"We have to take adequate measures and cannot constantly keep feeling threatened. We need to be committed to our professions. It's not merely about the bills that we have to pay, but we must ensure our customers are fed and keep it going for everyone." Murali said customers are more understanding these days and there are fewer delays while delivering foods.
"Our lives are constantly threatened by speeding vehicles. With less traffic now, most deliveries are done within the ideal time. Earlier, customers were impatient even when we get delayed by a few minutes. Now, they are more empathetic and thankful."
People are also careful while collecting food parcels, said Murali. "They touch the bottom of the packet, while I hold the top. Customers also come out of their apartment blocks quickly, without making us wait for long, as at present, we are not allowed to enter the lobby." Murali remains vigilant, ready with his Emirates ID, pointing to his unmissable food delivery box, in case he is stopped.

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