Going to Work Amid Coronavirus is a Double-Edged Sword for People Who Must Leave Their Home
Even though many businesses shuttered and moved exclusively online in response to the climbing death toll of the coronavirus in the United States, many employees are still need to physically head to work.
While positions that make it necessary for people to work outside of their homes during this time run the gamut, there are mixed emotions from employees about having to do so.
Kevyn States, 31, a commercial real estate property manager who works on Wall Street in New York, said he doesn’t have a problem going into his office from his home in East Brunswick, New Jersey, now that he has switched from taking the train to driving.
“It’s conducive for me to be on site as a property manager versus working from home. I am the only property manager on site,” States told InsideEdition.com. “Since I have been driving in and avoiding public transportation, I haven’t been feeling at risk, but who knows [what could happen] at this point.”
States said the cleaning company in his building has been doing extra sanitizing on common touch spots as well and the building has been limiting who can enter.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a lockdown that took effect Sunday night in which all nonessential businesses were ordered to shut down. Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.
While States said he feels, “generally safe” still going to work, others do not hold the same opinion.
Melissa, the wife of a FedEx carrier who lives in Queens, New York, doesn’t feel it’s safe for her husband to go into work because she said corporations like his are not providing essential protection to their employees while on the job.
“What they are doing is selfish,” said Melissa, who asked that her last name not be used because she feared her husband could face consequences as a result of her speaking out. “They are not providing their employees with protective equipment or cleaning supplies. I get that they need to work during this hard time, just provide your workers with gloves or masks.”
Melissa said her husband isn’t getting hazard pay or time-and-a-half, as they do when they have peak delivery seasons. She said the people her husband has delivered packages to have been very kind and have offered him items like gloves.
“It’s nice to have that type of community, but we shouldn’t have to get this type of help from the people he’s delivering to,” Melissa said.
In a statement to InsideEdition.com, FedEx said: "FedEx is an essential service to continue the movement of aid and commerce around the world, and we take that responsibility very seriously. The safety and well-being of our 475,000 team members is our top priority.
"We are immensely proud of our workforce and their unwavering commitment to deliver for our customers and communities through this global crisis," the statement continued. "We are closely monitoring guidance by the World Health Organization and other public health organizations, and taking proper health precautions. We are also encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed, and we have communicated to our workforce and management that team members should not come to work ill."
The actions FedEx said it was taking include suspending requirements for most customer signatures, providing sanitizer "and other personal protection equipment" at facilities, promoting social distancing on the job, disinfecting facilities and FedEx vehicles more frequently and "sharing prevention tips via manager meetings, signage and digital monitors in facilities."
But for Melissa, the support offered feels too little.
“If it does get worse, I did tell him to quit," she said. "At the end of the day, he has a family to come home to.”
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