Instacart is making it easier for its shoppers to get the coronavirus vaccine with the launch of a new COVID-19 Vaccine Support Stipend. Available to shift leads, in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers beginning Feb. 1, the stipend provides teams in the United States and Canada with financial assistance as they take time away from Instacart to get vaccinated.
"With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country, we're taking proactive steps to advocate that government agencies recognize Instacart shoppers as critical essential workers who deserve early access to vaccines," said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Instacart. "Our goal with the introduction of our new Vaccine Support Stipend is to ensure that, when the time comes, Instacart shoppers don't have to choose between earning income as an essential service provider or getting vaccinated."
As states and provinces begin their phased vaccine rollouts, Instacart's eligible shoppers and in-store teams will receive the Vaccine Support Stipend, which is worth $25.
Last spring, the online grocery platform worked closely with state and federal officials to ensure that its shoppers were considered essential workers. More recently, Instacart called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all 50 governors, and state and local elected leaders to support those who have delivered life's necessities throughout the pandemic and follow the essential-worker designation again by including grocery delivery workers in early access to the COVID-19 vaccines.
Instacart’s introduction of a Vaccine Support Stipend follows Dollar General’s announcement that it will also provide financial assistance to make it easier for its front-line workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The retailer will provide front-line hourly team members with a one-time payment equivalent of four hours of regular pay after receiving a completed COVID-19 vaccination, and salaried team members with additional store-labor hours to accommodate their time away from the store.
In addition to its stipend, Instacart is redistributing free personal protective equipment to any shopper in need throughout the remainder of the pandemic. Shoppers can request a free health and safety kit, including a face mask and hand sanitizer, directly from their Shopper app or website. These kits include a multi-layer face mask that's washable and reusable, and a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer that will ship directly to shoppers. To date, the delivery service has distributed more than 620,000 free health and safety kits to shoppers, with more kits shipping every week.
Meanwhile, Instacart has been recognized as a 2021 Best Workplace in the Bay Area by Fortune and Great Place to Work, ranking No. 33 on the Best Large Companies list. The ranking considered more than 44,000 employee surveys from companies across the Bay Area.
Instacart partners with more than 500 national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to offer delivery and pickup services from nearly 40,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. Instacart is available to 85% of U.S. households and 70% of Canadian households.
Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General operates 16,720 stores in 46 states, employing approximately 140,000 associates. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.