New Covid ‘red alert’ plans: Britain’s couriers prepare once more for the front door to become the front line

As the Government prepares to introduce controversial new three-tier ‘traffic light’ lockdown rules, ParcelHero says home delivery firms are braced for a Level Three red alert.

At the height of the coronavirus national lockdown in March, the Government prioritised delivery drivers as key workers. Under the Government’s new three-stage ‘traffic light’ coronavirus alert plans – which could be introduced as early as Thursday –  Britain’s delivery drivers are again bracing for the front door’s return to the front line in the battle against Covid.

As part of the controversial new scheme, the Government is planning a new Level Three ‘red alert’ that will bring in tougher new rules than any since the original lockdown, says the home delivery expert ParcelHero.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says couriers played a vital role in keeping people fed and provisioned during the first lockdown, when many people were quarantined, and all non-essential stores were closed. The new Level Three alert will mean the return of similar delivery protocols.

‘There are reports of a Cabinet split over these plans. If the scheme is launched unchanged, however, it will mean significantly tougher lockdown measures are likely. Under the new system, a Level Three alert would mean some types of non-essential stores will close once again and all social contact outside of people’s households forbidden. If this ‘red alert’ is declared, delivery companies and retailers are ready to resume their key role in keeping the nation fed and provisioned.

‘Under the plans, the many confusing local lockdown measures would be scrapped and the new alert system introduced, which will apply either locally or nationally across England. The three levels will be:  

  • Green Level 1: Continuing the current measures, including the ‘rule of six’ and 10pm pub closing time
  • Amber Level 2: Introducing new measures such as banning meeting friends outside of people’s own bubble (whether in homes, gardens or pubs) and curbs on non-essential travel.
  • Red Level 3: Many non-essential businesses will shut up shop once again, particularly hospitality and leisure establishments. There would be strict new social distancing guidelines and stringent restrictions on when and for how long people can leave their homes. For example, there will be no social contact with anyone outside of households in any setting and regulations will apply to overnight stays away from home.

‘However, food and goods will still be delivered by delivery companies, retailers and couriers, though we may see a return to the strictest delivery protocols. Over the last couple of months, many home shoppers have come to know their local delivery drivers by name and even enjoy a chat, but under Level 3 alerts we will see a return to briefer and more distanced Covid-secure deliveries.

‘That means drivers will continue to ring or knock on doors, step back a safe distance – 2 metres where possible – and leave the item for the receiver to pick up. Also, couriers will continue to record ‘signed for’ deliveries themselves, rather than ask the receiver for a signature. In some cases, they may also ask for confirmation of the receiver’s name or even take a photo of their door. If people have designated a drop-off point, such as a shed or garden storage box, these will continue to be used.

‘Shoppers can rest assured that, even under a Level Three alert, the nation’s couriers will continue to drop off everything, from food and medicines to board games and garden tools, to keep households fed and entertained. Following well-established distancing protocols, they will also, of course, pick up parcels to send to loved ones stuck in isolation.

‘Retailers and their delivery partners are also working with the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that deliveries continue under any new lockdown measures. As Christmas nears, home delivery will become the Home Front once more in the fight against Covid-19.