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Demand for home delivered groceries increases as customers try to limit trips to the grocery store. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Instacart's grocery delivery service appeared to be operating normally Monday in Lancaster County on the first day of a planned national walkout of the independent contractors who shop and make customer deliveries for the company.

Under pressure from activists to improve safety conditions and boost pay for its workers during the coronavirus outbreak, Instacart on Sunday announced enhanced sick pay and new, automatic tips while promising to distribute hand sanitizer to its shoppers.

Several Lancaster County grocery stores offer Instacart delivery of groceries, including Aldi, BJ's, Costco, and Wegmans, all of whom were still taking Instacart orders Monday. Local Instacart shoppers were also still accepting orders Monday, although customers were being shown it would take nearly four days for items to be delivered.

“At this time, we are not expecting an interruption of service,” Tracy Van Auker, a Wegmans spokeswoman said late Monday morning. “The demand for our curbside pickup and delivery service has grown exponentially over the last several weeks, which has led to limited windows of availability.”

Monday’s planned walkout was being promoted by Gig Workers Collective, a California-based group of activists which did not respond to an LNP request seeking comment on the scope of the walkout.

Instacart recently announced that it will hire an additional 300,000 workers in the next three months — more than doubling its current workforce — as demand for home delivered groceries increases as customers try to limit trips to the grocery store.

The increased demand for grocery delivery services has also strained Giant, the county’s largest grocery store operator, which has a dedicated pickup and delivery service hub in Lancaster city. While pickup was still available five days out at the Giant Direct location at 235 N. Reservoir St., on Monday there were no available delivery times through April 10.