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Miami, mainly Latino delivery workers, are worried about a surge in coronavirus



MIAMI-Noel Guillermo, a 47-year-old delivery man at Instacart, is dissatisfied with the surge in coronavirus cases seen in Florida.

He said: “I’m very worried about exposure.” “All grocery stores are packed very tightly. There may be 70 people there. In Miami, there are thousands of people who don’t take it very seriously-many people just ignore the rules. No masks or gloves.”

Guillermo said: “Even if I go to a restaurant, many people are not wearing protective gear.”

Florida is one of several states that has seen a significant increase in COVID-1

9 cases. According to data from the Florida Department of Health, after a few days of record-breaking new cases, the total number of cases in the state as of Monday has exceeded 146,000.

With the surge in demand for delivery, a large number of Latino and immigrant laborers have been working on the front lines of epidemics, providing meals, groceries and medicines to people at home.

Guillermo made a living for Uber before the pandemic. He said he felt he had to choose between losing his income or risking his job health. Millions of people are unemployed because of the pandemic confinement and the 14.5% unemployment rate in Florida, and many people feel they have no choice.

“Normally, I’m a preschool teacher and I’m a nanny all summer,” said Carolina Calderon, 53, at the time. “But in the pandemic, I couldn’t find any options for work. So I think I need to drive to Uber Eats.”

She said: “But I am afraid of this risk.”

Nestor Guevara, 46, drives Uber and Amazon Fresh.

He said: “If you want to make a living, you have to go to work anyway.” “This is how this country works.”

“The big companies we serve can do more for drivers like us,” Guevara added. “I work for them every day. I will never stop. I hope they can help us more.”

Nestor Guevara’s trunk is full of packages to be shipped from Amazon and Whole Foods supermarkets.Julia Log/NBC News

Amazon public relations manager Timothy Carter (Timothy Carter) pointed out that the company’s efforts to ensure the safety of employees.

He said: “We invested more than US$800 million in the first half of this year for safety measures such as temperature checks, masks, enhanced cleaning, gloves and testing,”

Carly DeBeikes, a representative of the Uber Security Communications Department, said in an email to NBC News that the company has been providing masks and cleaning supplies to drivers since April. She said: “Our focus has always been on the most demanding cities, providing materials for the most active drivers.”

Guevara’s cousin Eleazar Guevara said that he signed COVID-19 very early. “Because I’m a contractor at Amazon Fresh and I’m infected, I applied for their relief plan and got $2,000. This helped-but it’s not the same as working for a month-31 days, I can’t leave the room .”

Eleazar, 40, left Venezuela two years ago after 17 years in business and politics. He sought asylum, claimed to be persecuted by the government, and obtained approval; he is now applying for permanent residency.

He said: “It’s all a bit difficult.” “I came from a professionally trained and experienced immigrant; he has difficulty maintaining social distance with his family to maintain their health, he said it’s difficult.

His story is common among delivery workers in Miami, who rely on a large immigrant labor force.

Increased competition

As people in other industries are unemployed, delivery workers are facing increasing competition from drivers.

Nestor said: “All restaurants, studios, fitness facilities, everything is closed, and all these people need to make money. Even if the demand increases significantly, [for delivery], So a large number of drivers. “

Guillermo said: “In the past few weeks, too many people have joined the platform, it is almost impossible to receive goods.” “Instacart’s starting salary is very good, but now depends entirely on the amount of work you can find .”

Despite increased competition, Eleazar expressed the silver lining that some grateful customers are still thanking them with their wallets.

He said: “On average delivery jobs, my income is twice as much as before because people pay a lot of tips.” “People are really working hard, especially now. I think they are aware of the risks we are taking.”

Although delivery staff felt uneasy as the state saw rising coronavirus cases, Elezar said he was also proud of what he had done.

He said: “We are part of the front line-we help keep restaurants open, we help keep high sales in grocery stores, and help people stay in houses they think are safe.” “Finally, I calculated my delivery, I think-‘Well, I delivered 45 parcels to 45 houses today. I made 45 people feel safe.” I feel very good about this. “

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