With the pandemic essentially forcing families to be apart this holiday season, how will Mom share that traditional homemade lasagna with her kids? And how will you get those last-minute gift purchases to your nieces and nephews on Christmas Day?

There's an app for that — and it may be an app you've had on your smartphone for quite some time already.

Just in time for the holidays, Uber has launched its Uber Connect service throughout the Garden State. Instead of moving people from one location to another by vehicle, like the traditional Uber app, Uber Connect sends packages to family and friends — neither you or the recipient ever have to leave home.

"Open up the Uber app, click on 'package,' and you can either send a package to a recipient or you can enter the information to receive a package," said Alix Anfang, spokesperson for Uber New Jersey. "If you are either receiving or sending a package, you can track that package in your app in real time, so you know exactly where it is."

As long as you're in New Jersey, you can utilize the service.

The point of the new offering is to provide a contactless experience during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The sender and recipient would each meet the driver "curbside," according to Uber.

Anfang said users in New Jersey would pay about the same rates as they would for an UberX ride. The recipient does not have to be an app user in order to receive a package.

"You could do it even on Christmas morning," Anfang said. "It's another way to maybe send a gift to your loved one in a safe way while you have to remain apart from each other."

The app will handle packages that are under 30 pounds and under $100 in value. The item(s) must be securely sealed, and the app will not deliver alcohol, medication or "dangerous or illegal items."

Uber launched the product in April and it's now available in thousands of cities across the world.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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