Essential workers worry about safety amid coronavirus outbreak

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals are just a few of the only operations running like normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

These businesses are deemed essential, but who is taking care of them?

“We know we need to work, and not just for the income,” a local pharmacy employee said. “We know that we’re there to take care of the public, even in times of crisis, but when nobody is doing anything to protect you, it’s concerning, because it’s not just about me.”

The dangers of a busy workplace during the pandemic are established.

“In a workplace environment, if you have to work on a keyboard or a telephone that people also have to use, make sure those areas are disinfected frequently,” said David Sweat with the Shelby County Health Department.

Essential workers described a shortage of masks and cleaning supplies, with some being pushed back to work despite household contact with patients that have tested positive.

“They are just so paranoid, just waiting for it to creep up on you, that you can’t think, you can’t work,” the pharmacy worker said.

They’re concerned that large corporations aren’t acting with urgency to protect employees.

“It just seems like they’re the only people profitable right now, and they don’t want to leave that,” the pharmacy worker said.

For residents that need to use these businesses during the shelter in place order, minding CDC guidelines is essential to staying safe, especially the request that you stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

“We will still be there to serve you, one way or another,” the pharmacy worker said.

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