Additional free and discounted services offered during the coronavirus outbreak

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation, students and their families may be struggling to adapt to the new status quo. We recently provided a list of resources for students and families during the coronavirus outbreak, which includes information on how to take advantage of free internet, computer and food services in this time of need.

There are now additional free and discounted services being offered around Michigan and the country to help offset the challenges many are facing. Check out them out below.

Food services

Some food delivery services have waived certain take out fees and implemented new handling guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Grubhub has waived commissions for restaurants on the platform and is providing the option for customers to contact their drivers directly to discuss food delivery details.
  • Customers of Postmates delivery service can now also choose how they’d like to receive their orders.
  • Uber Eats has waived the delivery fee for more than 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada, and is implementing a new policy to drop off food without any client contact.

Though not offering free food goods, several stores both local and nationwide are offering designated shopping times for populations at higher risk of contracting the virus. These populations include the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Among the larger store brands, Whole Foods is allowing senior-only shopping on Wednesday mornings one hour before opening. Target is reserving the first hour of Wednesday operations for senior and vulnerable-population-only-shopping.

Check out the full story by the Detroit Free Press for a detailed listing of stores designating shopping time for seniors and the vulnerable amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Financial services

There have been several financial measures taken to ease the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Here’s an overview:

  • New paid leave laws have been enacted by the federal government.
  • The deadline for paying anything you owe on taxes has been pushed back to July 15.
  • Evictions and foreclosures for some homeowners and renters will be postponed for 60 days.
  • Social Security payments will continue.
  • A number of local and national utility companies will suspend shutoffs for those unable to pay.

For further information on the measures listed here, read Your Money: A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis by The New York Times.

Free virtual healthcare services

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is offering free virtual healthcare services to those who already have the telehealthcare plan. The company stated, “This service is in place so patients with a manageable illness don’t have to go into doctor’s offices and emergency rooms that are filled with people who are being treated for COVID-19.”

To read more on these free telehealth services and additional coronavirus-related services provided by BCBS, check out the full story by WWZM13.

Transportation

For those who live near Davenport’s Detroit campus and use the city’s SMART transit system, Detroit is now offering free fares on many SMART services “to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with its fareboxes and maintain greater distance from its drivers.”

Free services include Fixed Route, FAST, Connector, Shuttles, Dial-A-Ride and ADA. These will continue until further notice.

Waiving of fees

To help offset the financial burden caused by the pandemic, several companies are waiving fees and offering free services to make things easier for our communities. Here are some of the biggest:

  • Walgreens and CVS are both waiving home delivery fees for prescriptions.
  • U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to students who need to move due to the coronavirus emergency.
  • AT&T announced that they would be temporarily waiving internet data overage fees for those without unlimited plans.
  • American Airlines, United and Delta are offering to eliminate fees for cancellations or itinerary changes due to the pandemic, even for customers with tickets that would not normally allow changes.
  • Hotel chains Hilton, Four Seasons and Marriot announced policies addressing the waiving of cancellation fees in areas hit hard by the virus, while extending the policy to also cover reservations that were not previously cancellable.

Need additional help?

United Way has a hotline to help people access resources during the pandemic. If you have a need that we haven’t discussed here and you are concerned about where to turn, start by contacting United Way – just dial 2-1-1. The hotline is open 24/7.

For more information on the coronavirus or related health concerns, Michigan has set up a dedicated hotline. Call 1-888-535-6136.

What now?

Make sure to keep checking out Davenpost for new content and, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to look into these additional resources for students and families during the outbreak.

Find information from Davenport University regarding COVID-19 coronavirus here

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