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New York City residents feeling the burden of the coronavirus quarantine

Life has changed dramatically because of coronavirus. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more and more New Yorkers are feeling the effects of the ongoing quarantine.

According to City Hall, as of 10 a.m. on March 25, there are 17,856 positive cases of COVID-19 and 199 fatalities. 

While lots of residents can work from home, unfortunately for many New Yorkers staying home isn’t an option. A good number of the city’s population are in lines of work that have been deemed “essential services” by the government, meaning that even with social distancing measures in place, they could still catch coronavirus.

“I’m working like nothing happened,” said Vanessa Pantaleon. “My job is not closed. They won’t shut down like the others.”

Daniel F., a city mail carrier, said that despite his role as an essential employee, he decided to self-quarantine because he is put at risk of contracting COVID-19 every day for work.

“I love my customers and always try to do the right thing by them, the USPS has not done the right thing by us,” said Daniel. “There is no protection, no masks, no hand sanitizer, we can only have one to two pairs of latex gloves per day which is not enough when you’re working with your hands all day. They never sanitized the facility.”

Those who are struggling financially are feeling the weight of coronavirus-related burdens. Diane B., a mother of a newborn, told amNewYork Metro about how she often relies on bottle returns to help make ends meet.

“I do save and return bottles my family has purchased. The most I ever got was 12 dollars at one redemption session and that was just bottles from my family!” said Diane. “I put that money right back into groceries. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has put my bottle returns to a screeching halt.”

Twitter user @lou_ster agreed, stating that “grocery stores are not accepting bottles due to low staff and to keep from spreading the virus.”

Diane explained that while she understands why the grocery stores won’t collect the bottles during the quarantine, she believes that New York should halt the state’s bottle bill, which charges consumers five extra cents when purchasing certain bottled beverages and canned drinks.

“I am upset that New York State has not put a pause on bottle deposits and I am still paying into a program that I cannot use right now,” said Diane. “Five cents a bottle really does add up and it’s money I really can’t afford to throw away.”

Despite the bad, some have been able to find the good in being cooped up in their houses. amNewYork Metro readers on social media have said that they are getting more cleaning done as a result of the quarantine.

“[I’m] working from home during the week. Spending the weekends cleaning and purging my apartment from top to bottom,” said Brook Lane on Facebook. “My place is probably cleaner than the board of health.”

“I have cleaned everything,” said Jodi Kule on Facebook. “Bouncing off the walls, husband can’t stop cooking. What else?”

Submissions have been edited for clarity. Tell amNewYork Metro about your quarantine experience at tips@amny.com.

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