Covid-19 continues to spread and affect the daily lives of millions around the world. In areas where cases of the pandemic have been growing, quarantines and lockdowns have been issued. In most of these places, only people working in essential industries are permitted to continue their operations.

Rightly so, these workers have been called frontliners, mostly because they’re the ones most at risk of infection from the spread. But also, because they provide the rest of the population the means to keep going through this uncertain time.

So, knowing the importance and the dangers essential workers face in the current situation, are governments and their employers doing enough to ensure their own safety?

Grocery and Food Retail Workers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, grocery workers are at risk of infection when they are in close contact with a Covid-19 positive customer or when they touch their nose, mouth, and eyes after handling items, cash, and merchandise that have been touched by those with the disease.

The use of personal protective equipment is required for most grocery workers. It’s their last line of defense against the infection. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, many stores experience a shortage of these equipment. They reported that Walmart and Kroger have mandated all their employees to wear masks while many smaller stores are still waiting on their ordered shipments of these essential items.

Some grocery stores also provide sanitation stations in their stores. Both customers and employees can access these stations to wash or disinfect their hands.

The CDC is also recommending the use of touchless systems to lessen the risk of infection. These systems include stations where customers can scan the items they are buying and then use their phones to pay. According to CNet, these contactless terminals have become a necessity now because of the pandemic.

CNet also mentions that more advanced stores like Amazon Go use drones to deliver goods to their customers. This adds another layer of protection for both grocery workers and the public.

Healthcare Workers

Working in healthcare exposes people to the highest risk of infection. According to NPR, thousands of healthcare workers have been tested positive for the virus – and that article was published over a month ago. This comes as no surprise because of how much contact they have with people who have Covid-19. That’s also why every safety measure the whole industry can take is important.

However, like in the food retail industry, there is also a growing shortage of PPE for healthcare workers. According to Time, the shortage extends to other hospital equipment like hospital beds, gowns, and even body bags. They add that the website,, received over 7000 requests from major hospital networks around the country in only a couple of weeks.

But even though things look dire, there are still other safety measures that have been put in place to protect healthcare workers. A growing number of clinics and hospitals have begun adopting practice management tools to lessen the incidence of contact between patients and workers.

The World Health Organization has also called on governments and organizations to help ensure a safe and secure workplace for healthcare workers. They also detail other hazards that should be prevented like long working hours, stress, and even violence.


As cities lock down, those working in the transport industry have taken on a more meaningful, if dangerous, task. They are the ones who keep the goods flowing from one part of the country to the other. They deliver food, medical supplies, and even other items that people need.

Because they continue to travel and interact with different people and parts of the country, they also take on a serious risk of infection from the virus. According to Business Insider, they may be more at risk because many of the almost two million truck drivers in the US are obese and have diabetes.

For parts of the country where public transportation is still ongoing, passengers have also been required to wear masks. According to the Guardian, this can help prevent the spread but because safety equipment and measures have come too late, many drivers have already succumbed to the disease.

Some organizations give out hand sanitizers, wipes, and handwashing provisions to their drivers when they make their routes. There are also groups that aim to better educate drivers in more effective hygiene practices while on the road. The rise of contactless delivery systems has also helped in reducing the risk of infection.


This pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation to many lives. Those on the frontlines have seen even more and are still doing their best to keep the world running. Although their need is increasingly being paid attention to, many have already been infected and more will be infected still.

Hopefully, with more and more effective safety measures, the plight of the frontliners will not be as grim as it has been so far.