Why food delivery workers are braving coronavirus risk

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 3:43 PM EDT
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With millions of Americans locked tight in their homes because of stay-at-home orders to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, delivery workers are bringing food to people's doorsteps.

For restaurants that have stayed open during the pandemic, delivery workers are the backbone of their service, venturing into neighborhoods with little more than a face mask.

"I make sure I'm washing my hands consistently, and hand sanitizer, I keep that on me and basically keeping my six feet distance from people," said DoorDash worker AC, who's delivering as many as 20 meals a day around Silver Spring, Maryland. "If you're out here delivering basically Monday through Sunday, you can get a $1,000 check."

The National Restaurant Association says more than eight million restaurant workers have been laid off or furloughed since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I know in talking to many workers that they definitely want their jobs, but they want to be protected," said Saru Jayaraman, the president of the nonprofit One Fair Wage, which supports service workers and has started a fund for those who are struggling. "I think there needs to be much greater effort to push these companies to provide the equipment, the sick pay, the hazard pay and the time off that workers need to really take care of themselves."

Major delivery apps including DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub are providing two weeks of sick pay for couriers diagnosed with COVID-19.

George Diang is making up to 50 deliveries a day with DoorDash.

"It's not only a matter of making money, but it's a matter of trying to see how you can equally save those who are much more vulnerable," he said.

Diang knows he is putting his life at risk, but he believes it's the right thing to do and that the government owes him and his co-workers a round of applause.