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Of Course Food Service Workers Among Harder Hit By COVID-19

Plus, McDonald’s will start screening employees for symptoms, and more news to start your day

Wegmans grocery store interior with Instacart man worker and sign on shirt for same-day delivery
Instacart worker
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Data shows highest levels of COVID-19 in Queens are in areas with a lot of food service workers

As COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, data is emerging on just where those cases are centered. New York is one of the hardest hit states, and in the borough of Queens, the neighborhoods of Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona have some of the highest concentrations of infections. Those are also neighborhoods with high concentrations of “essential” workers, including food service workers.

According to The City, “people who work in food preparation and serving, personal care and service...as well as in the construction and janitorial industries make up 38% of the working population,” compared to the city’s average of 18 percent. The numbers make intuitive sense, as jobs that require more human contact, such as delivering food or scanning groceries, would increase the chances of someone contracting the new coronavirus. And usually, they are also jobs that make it hard for sick workers to take care of themselves.

Earlier this week, Whole Foods employees staged a “sick out” over what they said were insufficient paid leave for employees, often forcing workers to choose between taking sick leave or receiving a paycheck. Instacart workers also planned a nationwide strike to demand more protections. The numbers are starting to prove why their demands are so crucial.

And in other news...

  • Some chefs formed a coalition to fight for restaurants’s insurance claims. [Restaurant Hospitality]
  • Elizabeth Warren calls on companies like Uber and Instacart to reclassify their workers as employees, and give them benefits. [Vice]
  • McDonald’s will start asking employees about their health and recent habits at the start of shifts. [NRN]
  • KFC is sending one million pieces of chicken to franchisees to serve “ however they decide will best help in their communities.” [KFC]
  • Pizza chains haven’t been hit as hard as other restaurants. [Forbes]
  • Demands for food banks are up. [The Guardian]
  • Ina Garten made a huge Cosmo on Instagram. Someone tell me where to buy her giant martini glass. [Instagram]
  • Oh good, food brands are pivoting to Zoom backgrounds:

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