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Old 03-22-2020, 11:01 PM
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I am an essential employee in a "stay at home" state. Anyone else?


So, I'm a low wage hourly employee in a warehouse, which now means I'm "essential." Personally, I am happy that I am still able to work and that I am being offered bonuses and overtime right now. My employer is offering unlimited unpaid time off but only 2 weeks paid if an employee tests positive or is subject to mandatory quarantine.

The biggest inconvenience for me is that no grocery stores are open while I'm awake. So I actually took off a day of work (i'll be able to pick up more time later in the week) just to be able to stay awake and shop today. There wasn't much worth buying so I'm a little concerned I will be able to eat enough to make through the work week. At least I have money for bills.

Anyone else in a "stay at home" state but still required to work? How "essential" is your job, and do you worry about your health or getting your family sick?
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:17 PM
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Yep. Central Illinois here. Shut down, but I am a pharmacy tech. Essential. I'm glad to still be working (unemployment insurance which Illinois has guaranteed would significantly cut my income), but I am of course apprehensive about being infected. With not a lot of testing available, someone with mild flu-like symptoms could be sent away, untested, told to quarantine, but given a prescription which they go to the pharmacy to fill. I'm financially stable enough where I can endure several months of unemployment, but I don't want to roll the dice with the virus. I work in a pharmacy which is in a grocery store, so, thankfully, I can fulfill both of my critical needs (work and groceries) without going elsewhere. I'm a single hermit who mostly stays at home anyway. The lockdown, to me, is affirming my lifestyle.

Last edited by Harrington; 03-22-2020 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:47 AM
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Night auditor in Pima County. As long as the hotel is open I'm necessary.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:31 AM
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I work for a non-profit, we find jobs for people getting off of public aid.

Part of our tax exemption is to run seven days a week. On weekend we run a call referral line, which is hardly ever used.

I thought we'd be closed, but the state told us we were essential and we risk losing the tax exemption and the state would not direct clients toward us (we do both state referred and private referred as well as walk ins), if we closed

Last week I worked two days, before this got real bad, and spent most of the day with people calling us asking where they could be tested for Covid19.

We do have referrals for people who call with non-related problems but I used my contacts, which are extensive and even the hospitals say "Don't refer them to us." So it's back to the city non emergency number. Which in turn is giving out our number

Vicious circle, it's gonna be fun come Monday
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:46 AM
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Yep, I work five days a week in a small town supermarket about 50 minutes from Sydney, Australia. I am part of a small team of only nine people. It has been a surreal three weeks with incredible amounts of stock coming in and then flying off the shelves sometimes as soon as it is put there. Normally a fairly sleepy town but it has been absolutely electric for a month now. Lots of out of area customers for whom my patience is dwindling. I am exhausted answering the same 12,000 questions every day about toilet paper, sanitizer, pasta etc and unboxing things like a madman.

I was due to resign after a good four years here in April but that ain't happening now! It is definitely whacky times.
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:55 AM
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Suburban Chicago- I'm going to work today. I learned over the weekend that a machinist in a small job shop is essential if our customers are essential. One of our largest job providing customers is a food company (think: boxes of cereal), and since we help keep their lines running we're essential if they are. The boss is not forcing anyone in, and advised us to stay the hell home if we don't feel well. And although we're a small company, he's divided us into shifts to increase the space between us.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:49 AM
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TN State government, working from home.
A strange experience, so far.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:28 AM
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I'm the IT Director at a manufacturer that makes some things for the Department of Defense, so we will stay up and running regardless of stay-at-home orders. How essential I am in this process is not exactly clear, but for now I'm still going into the office, as is the rest of the office.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:37 PM
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I'm a forklift driver in the warehouse/shipping/receiving department of a manufacturing plant. Heard today that we are considered a supplier to an essential industry. I won't say what that industry is but they must have some excellent lobbyists.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:25 PM
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Yup, tool and die department. We supply an essential business so we're staying open. For now anyway. Who knows what fresh hell tomorrow will bring. Really glad about it, too. Not only is it now my social life and something to do all day, but Wisconsin maxes out unemployment at 367 a week. I'd be screwed.

And no, I have absolutely whatsoever no anxiety about getting it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:50 AM
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Cashier and cash office staff at big box/grocery store.

Grateful to have a job, dreading when (not if) I get sick.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:01 AM
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Engineer at a major defense contractor. The Defense Industrial Base is "essential" so we're open. Employees who can work from home have been instructed to do so, but much of the work (lab/manufacturing and/or classified) simply cannot be done remotely.

Drastic changes to the way we're operating have been imposed, but we're moving along. No known cases at our facility yet. The response when it happens remains to be seen. I don't think it will be long.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:37 AM
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It says "Essential Employee" right on my county work ID. Technically, I, as a police academy instructor, fall under our Public Safety Department. I am retired and no longer a sworn LEO. The state Attorney General ordered all police academies in the state to suspend all training until further notice. There is really nothing for the staff to do so they sent us home. That said, if ordered back in to perform some sort of public service, we'd all go willingly.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:47 AM
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Engineer at a major defense contractor. The Defense Industrial Base is "essential" so we're open. Employees who can work from home have been instructed to do so, but much of the work (lab/manufacturing and/or classified) simply cannot be done remotely.

Drastic changes to the way we're operating have been imposed, but we're moving along. No known cases at our facility yet. The response when it happens remains to be seen. I don't think it will be long.
Aside from a couple small details, this describes my situation. We've all been going to work, sanitizing obsessively, and trying to stay in the six foot "bubble" around our work areas.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:46 AM
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Engineer at a major defense contractor. The Defense Industrial Base is "essential" so we're open. Employees who can work from home have been instructed to do so, but much of the work (lab/manufacturing and/or classified) simply cannot be done remotely.
I am in the same boat. As a software guy I can do most of my work from home; I can even remotely log into equipment in the lab. We've been instructed to work from home as much as possible, but if we run out of work that can be done remotely we are allowed to come to the office as needed. We were even given a letter on company letterhead explaining that employees of a defense contractor we are "essential" to show to any police officers if necessary.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:10 PM
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911 center in Missouri. Essential.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:37 PM
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I'm a stocker/forklift driver at a big box store. We sell food, cleaning supplies, pharmacy stuff, liquor/beer/wine, and gasoline. All of those are considered essential here in CT (we also sell a bunch of non-essential stuff). We were all given a letter explaining that we essential in case we get pulled over after curfew, which I'm not terribly worried about because I have a short commute. Some of my co-workers have long commutes and definitely will be pulled over.

I'm not worried about my family because I don't live with them and I've explained to my parents and uncle (my only family in-state) why I can't visit them. My room mate works at the same store, so no worries there.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:46 PM
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Too late to edit: We're all being paid am extra $2/hr and I'm working more hours than usual. I've almost certainly been exposed already, so I'll take the extra pay while I can.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:48 PM
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Yup, tool and die department. We supply an essential business so we're staying open. For now anyway. Who knows what fresh hell tomorrow will bring. Really glad about it, too. Not only is it now my social life and something to do all day, but Wisconsin maxes out unemployment at 367 a week. I'd be screwed.

And no, I have absolutely whatsoever no anxiety about getting it.
Re: the social life thing. That's one of the reasons I wanted to continue to work but the restrictions pretty much killed that. Start and break times are staggered and some of my co-workers have been deputized to enforce social distancing. So, for example, I had a group of break room friends. We no longer see each other and if we do we can't sit at the same table. Oh well.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:57 PM
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Work at a medical school on a US military base. I have to go in for full days Tuesday and Thursday, and telework the other days. There are certain things that I can only do on a secure DoD machine on site. The staff was split into 3-4 person teams to come in certain days so that someone is always here. Not that there's that much going on at the office, but the university insisted the library stay open to support the faculty, so we're here.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:39 PM
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Really glad I left my food service job at the hospital last October. Wishing all my old coworkers the absolute best though, and I'm checking in with a few from time to time.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:41 PM
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I'm now (major career reset) a phlebotomist at the hospital which will see most of the COVID-19 cases in the state...more that half are in the same county, and any difficult cases get sent here. We have the state's only level I trauma center, for example. We are ground zero for medical care in about 150 mile radius.

The total number of confirmed cases in this state is still under 100. (but approx. doubling each week) It is actually very slow at the hospital for the time being. Speculation follows: All elective procedures have been postponed. Commuter traffic is down, so fewer car accidents, Bars are closed, so fewer assaults. Businesses are closed, so fewer industrial accidents. And people are probably thinking long and hard if they REALLY need to go to the hospital. Docs seem to be working to send people home ASAP, so there are more empty beds than usual. They are 1) Moving people out of possible infection risk, and 2)making room for a possible onslaught.

The COVID positive patients are lumped into a couple of cohorts, depending on needed care level. One nurse per shift, and they don't visit any other rooms, or even nurses stations...working from desk in hallway. These nurses do the blood draws for us, as well as housekeeping, meal delivery, etc. They are the biggest heros in this mess, as far as I am concerned. Hopefully it won't get to the point that 1:1 care isn't feasible.

I'm fairly resigned to the fact that I will likely become infected with the virus at some point. Watching for symptoms and taking all available precautions to avoid it, and also to avoid passing it to patients before I have symptoms. I'm isolating when not at work, as I figure I am a likely vector for community spread. I need to get groceries today and will glove-up to protect my neighbors.

We are a bit short staffed...perhaps some single parents staying home with kids out of school, maybe some just freaking out. A couple with medical conditions that put them at elevated risk. So there is a bit of overtime, and people covering multiple floors that would normally be 1 phleb per floor. So that increases the odds of nosocomial spread.

It is down to one visitor per patient. Only two entrances are open, and LEO are on hand at each to enforce rules. None of the food vendors in the lobbies are open so the only lunch options are brown-bagging it, or the hospital cafeteria, which is very slow, as the steam table has been shut down. (hence my required grocery run)

If you see medical staff wearing a cloth or paper mask, they are doing it for patient protection, not their own. Nobody with confirmed COVID-19 is working, but it can be asymptomatic, and the limited testing capacity needs to be reserved for those with symptoms.

My state has extremely low population density, so I am hopeful that this will slow the spread. Also our governor is well ahead of the national trend of shutting things down, so that should help also.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:55 PM
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I work for a pharmaceutical company, so we're deemed essential.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:09 PM
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I'm a forklift driver in the warehouse/shipping/receiving department of a manufacturing plant. Heard today that we are considered a supplier to an essential industry. I won't say what that industry is but they must have some excellent lobbyists.
Official word received today. I'm working until I get Covid-19 or until this is over. Glad I have something to do everyday and don't have to deal with unemployment.

Is the unemployment requirement to look for a new job waived for the duration?
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:55 PM
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I'm a home health nurse in Chicago. We don't have enough PPE, so we discharged every patient we possibly could into the care of their families. I'm still calling those weekly to check on them, just not getting paid for it. My caseload is down to about half normal, so my pay is getting slaughtered. If it weren't for my patients, I'd ask the boss to just lay me off so I could collect unemployment and go back home to my kids (I'm not living with them right now for fear of bringing it home to them.) But I have some of the most difficult patients in my agency, and I don't trust the staff we have remaining to take good care of them if I leave.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:41 PM
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Official word received today. I'm working until I get Covid-19 or until this is over. Glad I have something to do everyday and don't have to deal with unemployment.

Is the unemployment requirement to look for a new job waived for the duration?
It is in Wisconsin. I imagine it will be in every state, too great a chance every election will be won by the challenger in any state that doesn't. Probably going to be federally mandated to suspend the requirement anyway.

BTW, anyone want to come over for beer and an outdoor fire? Just moved into my new place Sunday and lonely as fuck!
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:45 AM
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In Wisconsin. I work in a food plant, thus essential. My two sons at home work in food plants also. My wife works at assisted living place. All are essential. High school daughter was useless (even helping at home.) Thankfully a guy I work with needs someone to watch his tweener daughter so he can work so I guess she now qualifies as essential also. My daughter babysat this girl a few summers ago so their is a small bond. My son not at home has been working remotely for a few weeks now. His gf works at Target.

I read through the governors statement and don't know who is not essential besides bartenders, nail technicians, and barbers.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:40 PM
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Wife is a banker. Her department was considered so "essential" to their firm that they were all separated into different buildings to ensure no infections passed around. Unfortunately, she still has to drive into work every day. Fortunately there's almost no one else there, so no person-person contact.

Son works for a cargo company which has pivoted to mostly medical supplies for the duration. Essential of course.

Daughter is college student, at home doing classes online.

I'm retired and therefore bound to stay at home, by law, and to drink beer and watch Netflix. I take my duties seriously, and have moved a large cooler next to the hot tub to ensure continuity of task.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:41 PM
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I'm essential, but working from home as much as possible. As a Public Works Department employee, we're all required to be disaster responders, but during outbreaks we're only on the county disaster response list for emergency building and traffic control.

Our county is up to 68 confirmed cases.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:47 PM
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I'm not an essential employee. (Well, since I work for a business credit organisation, I might be able to plead that I'm in the exempted 'financial services' category. Right now in attending a webinar called Managing the Credit Function During an Emergency.) Working from home means I don't have a 230-mile round-trip to the office twice a week.

Mrs. L.A. is an RN, so she is exempted as an essential employee. She started her own business as a visiting foot care nurse last year. She doesn't consider her services 'essential' (though her elderly patients do need medical foot care). She's letting patients decide if they want her to come.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:09 PM
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Primary care physician, seeing sick patients all day. Yeah, I'm considered essential. Considering my health risks I've been offered leave to do admin tasks and work from home to reduce my chances of death. But while doctoring is what I do and NOT who I am, I still have a sense of duty to my patients. If not me, who will care for them?

Strange days, indeed. Most peculiar.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:16 PM
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<<sigh>>

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Old 03-25-2020, 05:55 PM
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Primary care physician, seeing sick patients all day. Yeah, I'm considered essential. Considering my health risks I've been offered leave to do admin tasks and work from home to reduce my chances of death. But while doctoring is what I do and NOT who I am, I still have a sense of duty to my patients. If not me, who will care for them?
Yeah, my-sister-the-doctor who is in her late 60's and has significant heart problems is still going to work. Also has an advance directive to NOT put her on a respirator should she get that ill but rather give it to someone younger and healthier. I can't fault her logic - given her health situation the chances of her surviving that bad an infection are pretty damn low anyway - but she's my sister...!

She hasn't told me to stop doing my job, I'm not going to tell her to stop doing hers, but damn I wish I could see her again. I fear I may not.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:21 PM
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Thanks to "essential employee shopping hour" at a grocery store this morning I was able to not only see but purchase toilet paper for the first time since all this started. There were even several packs left when I checked out. Then when I got home I found out my FIL had dropped off some he bought during his senior shopping hour.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:03 PM
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I'm a cardiologist at an academic hospital so it's been busy. COVID-19 dases so far have been manageable with the usual staff but there's a general consensus that it'll be all hands on deck soon. For my outpatient clinic we've switched to doing mostly telemed visits. We weren't really set up for that so for about two weeks it was all pretty much free telephone visits. Routine work is significantly reduced so all our incomes this year will pretty diminished, although that clearly pales in comparison to those in other sectors who are furloughed or just gone under already.
On the plus side, my commute has been a dream.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:03 PM
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As a security analyst for a “globally significant financial institution,” they seem to think I’m essential. Fortunately I’m already a full-time telecommuter, so it’s been business as usual for me, keeping the bad guys out and being sure the good guys can get in.

More usefully to you, I help make sure your money is doing what you expect it to do, whether that’s to pop out of an ATM, get credited to your mortgage or car payment, or just sit there and earn interest.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:32 PM
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I'm a fire systems inspector in Illinois. We've been deemed essential so I'm still out there doing my thing. The only thing stopping me from doing my job is if a business is closed and I can't get in. I've been surprisingly busy this week.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:09 PM
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I work in IT for a large city in the DFW Metroplex. Although they sent all the "non-essential" workers home on mandatory paid leave today, they informed us (the IT dept) that we're first-tier essential, and that we have to keep on working from home. Which isn't as bad as it sounds; the mandatory paid leave for non-essential people lasts a week or so, and past that, it's sick-time and vacation time, or leave without pay. Or reassignment to support roles for first-responders and other essential departments, insofar as they can create positions to do that.

That said, I'm going on a week at home now, having only left to do a grocery pickup (one of those deals where they load it in your car). Having work to do is probably better than not having it to do, I'd say.

Last edited by bump; 03-25-2020 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:21 PM
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I work in IT for a large healthcare provider (multiple hospitals, clinics, etc.). Other than working from home full time since the 16th, nothing has really changed for me from a work perspective; I support the back-end systems, so I can do 99.44% of my work from home.

I am reminded on pretty much an hourly basis these days how lucky I am to have the job that I do. I have no doubt about whether or not I'll have a paycheck next week, or next month. In fact, considering the money I'm saving by not commuting every day, the current situation is probably having a net positive impact on my bottom line. We're trying to put as much of that "unexpected windfall" back into the community as possible by supporting local small businesses wherever we can...but it's a very strange feeling...
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:38 PM
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Locomotive engineer in the N.E. I'm in transportation so considered essential. I know that if I get infected it will be though my job. I have chosen to stay home for as long as I can after seeing my job's inadequate response to this crisis.

I'm not getting paid but I'd rather keep me and my loved ones alive. That includes my elderly parents that I'm not willing to sacrifice for the economy.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:42 PM
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Apparantly, construction workers are deemed essential as some men are working on the parking area next door and the major construction sites are all working. This is west LA. Im shocked the police havent shut them down.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:59 PM
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Thanks to "essential employee shopping hour" at a grocery store this morning I was able to not only see but purchase toilet paper for the first time since all this started. There were even several packs left when I checked out. Then when I got home I found out my FIL had dropped off some he bought during his senior shopping hour.
See this is one of the things for me, they are not doing anything like that here for us. I have the official letter stating I'm an essential employee, but it means nothing for every day life right now.

They want me to go out there and be exposed to easily 50 other people for every round trip I take, but I can't get toilet paper. Or soap, or wipes or fresh bleach so that I can make my own mix to clean my hotel room and on and on.

I feel like we are being scarified for the economy, tell us to get out there and work with out changing anything on their side. We still stay in the cheapest hotels for example. I have no clue how well they are cleaning them.

It's all bullshit. We are seen and treated as expendable.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:21 PM
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Contractor for IT to a state agency. Considered essential. We've slowly been increasing the number of telecommuters as the infrastructure to support them comes online. I will be one of, if not the, last to do that because, my wife works for a ad/marketing firm and they've all gone to work from home. Between her taking over the office and the kids being home, I won't get shit done if I stay home without a major restructuring of the house.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:26 PM
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Maintenance tech at a USPS processing center. At start of my shift yesterday, my supervisor handed me an “Essential Service Provider Letter” that I am directed to present should I find myself in a “Papers, please” situation.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 03-28-2020 at 02:27 PM.
  #45  
Old 03-28-2020, 02:30 PM
Siam Sam is offline
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Me. I've never said what it is that I do here in Hawaii. But I will say it involves a large hospital.
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  #46  
Old 03-28-2020, 02:38 PM
Chessic Sense is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer View Post
tool and die department. ...I'd be screwed.
Hah.
  #47  
Old 03-28-2020, 03:02 PM
Chessic Sense is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer View Post
tool and die department. ...I'd be screwed.
Hah.
  #48  
Old 03-28-2020, 05:08 PM
longhair75 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cell Guy View Post
I'm a fire systems inspector in Illinois. We've been deemed essential so I'm still out there doing my thing. The only thing stopping me from doing my job is if a business is closed and I can't get in. I've been surprisingly busy this week.
I am a fire systems inspector in Omaha NE. SO far there has been no lack of work. I have a laminated letter in my truck stating that I am essential personnel to show law enforcement in the even my city gets locked down.

The letter cites:
Quote:
The Fire and Life Safety Service industry has been designated a “Critical Infrastructure Segment” under Presidential Policy Directive 21 and Department of Homeland Security emergency readiness programs implementing the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. 42 U.S.C. § 5195c(e). It is therefore the policy of the United States that these industries continue to function with minimal disruption in the event of an emergency. The Fire and Life Safety Service industry is essential for the continued function of the economy in this time of crisis.
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  #49  
Old 03-28-2020, 05:13 PM
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Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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I'm a mechanical engineer at an engine company that serves power plants (mostly nuclear); one of our customers took it upon themselves to ensue that the government considers my place of employment to be essential. Upper management sent out a copy of the essential service provider letter last week, since many employees live in counties that have stay-at-home orders (plus, the statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect Monday). Most of the office people are working from home, with only a handful of days scheduled for on-site work; the people who work in production and inspection can't work from home, so they've been split into two shifts to minimize the number of people in the facility.

When I am in the office at this point, I'm around so few people that I don't worry about getting sick. I think I stand more of a chance of developing a respiratory problem from the cans and cans of aerosol spray one of our document control employees uses to hose down half the department several times per day.
  #50  
Old 03-28-2020, 05:32 PM
Urbanredneck is online now
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Yes, I am a postal employee and they have given us letters to show to police if pulled over and questioned. Plus my federal ID badge has an "E" on it which I guess means essential.
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