The coronavirus outbreak has had a massive impact on public health and the economy. In the United States, the 25 million workers employed in the service sector have been hit particularly hard by the health and economic crisis. Workers in some segments of the retail and food-service industries have experienced reductions in hours as well as widespread layoffs due to store closures or dramatically reduced demand. At the same time, workers employed in the grocery, delivery, and pharmacy sectors have been designated as “essential” workers and are experiencing an entirely different set of challenges. These workers are continuing to show up to work—stocking shelves, and ringing up and delivering essential food and medicine—risking exposure to a highly contagious and serious illness and facing increased workloads due to co-workers calling out sick.
Schneider, Daniel. "Essential and Unprotected: COVID-19-Related Health and Safety Procedures for Service-Sector Workers." Shift Project Research Brief, 2020.