California’s Farm Workers Pick America's Essential Produce – Unprotected From Coronavirus
Amadeo Sumano picks strawberries with his bare hands in Ventura county, on California’s central coast, and packs them into plastic containers bound for supermarkets. He received a letter from his employerinforming pickers about the importance of hand-washing amid the coronavirus outbreak. But Sumano, 38, and his co-workers, he said, have not been given any gloves.
“Nothing has changed at work,” Sumano said in Spanish. “The distance principle, six feet between people, does not work in agriculture.”
He worries about getting sick, or having his hours cut as some growers contend with a loss in food service orders, and the financial pressure that would come with either scenario, made even more intense because of his undocumented status.
“It is an honor to be a farm worker and an essential worker,” said Sumano. “But I have many worries.”
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