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Covid-19

Inside the Lives of America’s ‘Essential Workers’

As demand for medical assistance reaches an all-time high, shipments continue to health workers battling Covid-19.

Grace Bowman and other members of Direct Relief's operations team fill orders of hand sanitizer and protective gear, including masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other items in Direct Relief's warehouse. The team has responded to an unprecedented number of requests for medical aid since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Grace Bowman and other members of Direct Relief's operations team fill orders of hand sanitizer and protective gear, including masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other items in Direct Relief's warehouse. The team has responded to an unprecedented number of requests for medical aid since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

A growing number of states have implemented shelter-in-place orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In compliance, companies across the country have closed their offices and asked employees to work from home. Other businesses, dependent on foot traffic, have shut down entirely, triggering mass lay-offs. While millions of Americans work remotely, or not at all, a select few must continue to report to work at a physical location.

Employees from 16 critical industries have been instructed to go to work, despite existing shelter-in-place orders. These are workers whose jobs are needed to maintain ‘vital infrastructure,’ such as public health, emergency services, and agriculture. They have been deemed “essential workers.”

As a distributor of medical supplies, Direct Relief’s employees have been exempt from California’s shelter-in-place order. While most employees can work from home, those physically packing up and shipping out these medical supplies cannot.

On this episode of the podcast, we go inside Direct Relief’s warehouse where employees are preparing shipments of personal protective equipment for health care workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic. We speak with Direct Relief’s Grace Bowman and Nicholas Monroe about how the operations team has adjusted to safeguard the health of its employees while keeping up with an unprecedented demand for supplies.

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