As Quarantine Spurs Demand, Some Companies Are Hiring

Janae Pierre, WBHM

Pizza Hut is looking to hire more drivers for no-contact delivery as coronavirus continues to spread.

Many businesses have laid off workers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but plenty of companies in Alabama are hiring. The state’s stay-at-home order has fueled a huge demand for grocery and restaurant delivery services. And even as some companies grapple with worker safety concerns, they’re still growing.

Phillip Vinziant is the shift leader at Pizza Hut’s Southside location in Birmingham. He says the pizza giant is looking to hire about 30-thousand workers across the U.S., including more than 100 in Alabama. Most of those openings are for delivery drivers. 

Pizza Hut pays drivers up to $18 per hour, plus tips and mileage. Vinziant says at his location, there have been more delivery orders than they have the manpower to fill. 

“At a certain point the orders will just start coming, they’ll just start piling up,” he says. “And managers may want extra hours, so they’ll clock in as a driver, some might clock in as a cook to help make up for the fact that we don’t have as many crew members or as many drivers.”

Pizza Hut has changed the way it does deliveries to help keep drivers safe. Vinziant says they’ve moved to no-contact deliveries. Drivers drop off double-bagged food items on the customer’s porch or lawn chair. 

Shipt also has been trying to meet the demand for food delivered to your door. Julie Coop, director of corporate communications for the Birmingham-based grocery delivery service, says the company is hiring. But many Shipt shoppers don’t feel safe. This week, some of them organized a walk-off calling for better protections from coronavirus and hazard pay. Today, some Shipt shoppers are urging a customer boycott.

Coop did not respond to questions about the strike except to refer to this post on the company’s website, adding that the safety of Shipt shoppers is the company’s number one priority. 

“We are providing our shoppers with protective equipment,” she says. “So a number of them have already gotten their hands on gloves and hand sanitizers and all shoppers will be eligible to pick up that protective equipment at Target stores.”

Shipt shoppers aren’t the only workers concerned about their health. Some Amazon employees have called facilities a “breeding ground” for coronavirus infection. Still, the online retailer recently filled 1,500 positions at its fulfillment center in Bessemer and added 600 more.

In addition to avoiding stores and restaurants, staying at home has meant fewer visits to the doctor. That’s driven demand for online health care options through companies like Pack Health. The Birmingham-based startup offers digital health coaching for people with chronic conditions. 

Robert Ginter is Vice President of Operations. He says his company is hiring more online health advisors. 

“There’s a lot of folks that are reaching out that maybe have been displaced or realizing that they have the potential of being displaced in their current roles,” he says. 

Ginter says the company has received several applications from health care workers who want to make money in a safe environment. And during this global health crisis, there’s no safer workplace than home.

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