“Some bills are not going to stop”: laid-off workers turn to essential work amidst coronavirus pandemic – News – The Palm Beach Post


Rideshare driver Josh Dunn from India describes himself as “very obsessive-compulsive disorder”.

“A lot of people like me, before that happened, weren’t germophobic,” Dunn said. “Now they’re there and hope for the best.”

Adds the threat of coronavirus to everyday life and makes things frustrating for those who are not currently working but want to find a job in the “necessary jobs” category. Some examples include healthcare, grocery stores, utilities, and rideshare and delivery services.

Dunn has signed up for every available rideshare and shipping platform, including Instacart, a grocery delivery and collection company based in San Francisco. The company hires 300,000 employees across North America to meet the growing demand for grocery deliveries as millions of people are urged to stay home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

He was signed with the forum in August, but he had a difficult time because of the schedule, because it had a scheduled time at that time. Nor did it pay as well as Lyft or Uber. This week, he downloaded the app to restart the platform.

“Now it’s more than Uber,” Dunn said. “There’s nothing about shifts, blocks or the like. All the other rideshare drivers you know say Instacart is banging right now. That’s what people need right now. They need people to buy them, they don’t have to go to the bar or go to work anymore.”

The company mentions drivers as “full service buyers”. Instacart allows users to shop at grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, and deliver to their homes. Full service buyers go to the store and pick each item from the shelves for checkout and delivery. They are scheduled for each order.

Grocery stores have struggled over the past three weeks to keep shelves of products such as canned food, toilet paper, dairy products and other essentials. If the store does not have the products they want, they must find a similar product and communicate with the customer through the app.

“It’s one of the places where it’s going to be a little awkward,” Dunn said. “Often you need to start communicating with the person you order through the app, and the time comes for shopping. So if the person doesn’t respond quickly, you can get a notification of the store time. You try to make sure you get what they need, but the clock is on.”

Apoorva Mehta, the founder and CEO of Instacart, said the company hopes to offer “flexible earning opportunities during this time” to those who are encouraged to stay home. Metha did not offer any precautions to its full-service buyers, but said on Monday they would compensate drivers if they fall ill.

“All store stores have nationwide sick pay, which can be used for paid time off if you are off work due to illness or disability. In addition, every full-service or in-store salesperson can receive up to 14 days extended salary if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or compulsory isolation or quarantine. “

“I have severe asthma in my family. I haven’t seen them for at least ten days, and I refused,” Dunn said. “I don’t refuse to see my children, and I don’t want to give anyone a virus if I have one. I don’t want to get sick from the point of not wanting to be sick, feeling sick, being unhappy, having fun and going to the hospital. But more worried about me if I get it. That’s my big concern. ”

Bills do not stop there

Indion’s Claudia Armenta was dismissed last week as a marketing agent for a local tribal company. He was subject to a final examination, including vacation and personal leave, and was told if they were to be closed for more than two weeks to submit unemployment insurance.

“Some of the bills aren’t going to stop, and I’m not sure when business will grow again,” Armenta said.

He added that he was considering applying to local grocery stores in his area, including Walmart, who were aware of the rise in coronavirus infections.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, said Monday that they want to fill 150,000 seats nationwide, earning $ 2 more per hour on Memorial Day at its execution centers. Recruitment center employees and the hires they refer to can also receive a $ 250 bonus after 90 days of employment with a new employee. Other food chains and retailers want to add thousands of temporary workers to their stores.

The Atlantic said on Tuesday that Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, King Soopers and Fred Meyer were tested positive for the virus. United Food and Commercial Workers Workers, who represent some grocery stores, said only six of its members are known to be positive for the coronavirus.

“I’ve always tried to be careful,” Armenta said. “In cash handling, I would always try not to touch my face. After so many events, I would clean my hands with a hand cleaner. I also wipe my desk, office phone and even my mobile phone. I will definitely wear gloves more often.”

But Armenta’s biggest concern is for her family. California Riverside County coronavirus cases rose to 70 on Wednesday as deaths rose from one to seven.

“When I noticed the coronavirus spreading, I started preparing things at home so my parents could go out as little as possible,” Armenta said. “I’m afraid of my parents. They are elderly and have health conditions. Especially for my mother, she has anemia, a weak immune system and diabetes.”

No event causes waves

Connor Cross of Desert Hot Springs was dismissed as manager of an event production company and has applied for positions at Walmart, Lowe’s, Aldi’s and Vons. Previously, she has worked on setting up private events and concerts, including Coachella and Stagecoach.

“If there are (no) events, I can’t be sent to do anything,” Cross said. “I only spent eight years developing myself into an industry I love, and I can’t even do anything.”

Like Armena, he is aware of the risks of exposure to coronavirus, which he says are not his biggest concern at the moment.

“I’m more worried about how I’m going to feed myself and a pregnant girlfriend,” Cross said. “Can I get a job fast enough? When everyone loses their job, can I still get a job even though they employ a ton of people?

As of Tuesday, Cross had not heard of any of his applications.

“I’m in the meantime leave unemployment, and I hope it comes through. I’ll do everything in my power,” Cross said. “I’m the last two weeks, every day doing this. Not recorded is nothing serious or anything, so that they would not want me playing, so I do not understand why. Most of these online applications, says there is no way to call and check whether the application is processed , or talk to the manager. In principle, we expect callback requests within two to three weeks. ”

Brian Blueskye of Reach Desert Sun at brian.blueskye@desertsun.com.

Previous reports by Desert Sun staff and TODAY Charisse Jones and Josh Rivera in the US were used in this report.