Due to COVID-19, we are stuck inside and, as the new term describes, “social distancing.” Each day, we are staying inside in hopes that we do not help the spread of the new virus. We spend our time with members of our family, not leaving the house for any reason except for food, groceries, or emergencies. Even when it comes to our jobs, many family members have to stay home and do their job. But for some, social distancing and working from home is not something they can do. In the time of panic and sickness, there are many jobs that have to work out in the field. Richard Perez has one of those jobs.
“In my job, I patrol, suppress crime, arrest for law violations, and maintain peace and order of the local government,” said Perez.
Perez’s job as a police officer is one of the ‘essential jobs’ during this time of the pandemic. ‘Essential workers’ are workers that are necessary to the country’s well being, including doctors, first responders, government officials as well as jobs that provide essential goods to citizens, like grocers and food industries. The purpose of self-isolation is important to maintain health, so having an essential job can be dangerous.
“While contracting the virus and dying is relatively low compared to the population, it still has many unknown aspects,” said Perez. “Aspects that are relatively new and not fully understood yet.”
With a job that requires one to be out and exposed to the public, there is an increased chance of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as well as an increased possibility of contracting the virus. For many families of those with essential jobs, this can be concerning when the family member returns back home.
“For my job as a police officer, those possibly contacted with the virus must self isolate at home for three weeks with pay,” said Perez. “A review of where they have been and who they contacted will be researched.”
With the large risk of contracting COVID-19, many workers have become concerned with working outside of the home. Because of this, many have lost or quit their job, which caused a strain on the people filling the essential jobs. On top of that, the risk of contracting the virus is not the only issue that comes with having an essential job.
“Traffic accidents and crimes are currently at an all-time low because people are staying home,” said Perez. “However, petty theft has gone up because people are stealing small items like towels and toiletries which are not very expensive.”
Due to quarantine, many have resorted to stock pilling on certain foods and toiletries, especially toilet paper, causing a slight shortage of those certain products. Because of that, there was an increase in petty crime in America. Despite the crime, it had become common for many states to resort to allowing those people to go off with a warning, rather than arrest them.
“Some essential people are drive-through only restaurants, some construction, grocery stores, healthcare workers, along with fire and police, to name a few,” said Perez.
Despite the danger these people can possibly be in, they are still crucial for the continuation of the economy during these difficult times. Their purpose is to keep America running and safe during the isolation of COVID-19, and thus making them true pandemic heroes.