The world is anything but normal right now. But we wanted to take a minute to thank those on the frontlines of the coronavirus epidemic. People who the government have deemed essential and continue to go to work while the rest of us are told to stay home. Essential workers during COVID-19 span industries and are indispensable for different reasons.

These workers are the backbone of the American economy and the makeup framework of our society. If the outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that all work is valuable and worthy of a living wage.  They’ve kept us running while the rest of our lives have come to a screeching halt.

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors and nurses are working around the clock to save the lives of coronavirus patients in hospitals. All members of hospital staff are essential right now. Either because they are directly saving lives, or they are supporting the workers that do.

Flattening the curve is what it’s all about. It’s the reason why shelter-in-place mandates have been issued across the country. We’re doing it to help keep hospitals from being overrun with thousands of patients at the same time, resulting in the deaths of thousands – simply because there aren’t enough hospital beds or ventilators to save them all at once. Staying home and self-isolating is the single most impactful way we can help healthcare workers and keep them safe.

Grocery Store Workers

In March, panic buying hit it’s peak in the US. Store shelves were barren of essentials and household staples were hard to find. Cashiers, stockers, and store managers have been working tirelessly to help everyone get their daily necessities. They’ve been pivotal in protecting at-risk groups with early-morning senior hours so that our most vulnerable can get what they need with minimized exposure.

Grocery store employees come into contact with hundreds of people each day, still trying to be helpful and positive around customers. It’s an exhausting and high-risk job right now. When you venture out for supplies and apocalypse snacks, be patient when waiting and kind to store employees. The last thing they need right now is to deal with Karens.

Delivery Drivers & Long-Haul Truckers

You know that thing where we’re not leaving our homes right now? Delivery drivers are the linchpin holding our Amazon-dependent lives together. UPS, FedEx, small contract carriers, the postal service workers. Collectively, they visit nearly every home in American every single day, but they’re delivering more goods than usual during the pandemic. This also includes the delivery guy from your favorite restaurant (that’s still open, against all odds).

Truckers have been essential in keeping our stores stocked with goods and maintaining our supply chains. They haul groceries, medicine, you name it. Any item you buy (except food from farmer’s market’s but those are closed right now) in a store, you buy it because a truck driver brought it there.

Delivery-based employees are working during most store’s limited hours. If you can spare it, offer to share some key supplies the next time they swing by. Think hand sanitizer, toilet paper, or disinfecting wipes – stuff that’s worth more than gold in our apocalypse economy.

Custodial Staff

Janitors and custodial crews have been working overtime for weeks keeping everything clean. Grocery stores are doing deep-cleans every night. Manufacturing plants and warehouses are being scrubbed between every shift. Hospitals are being sanitized constantly. Custodians are critical to preventing the spread of coronavirus, especially in high-traffic locations. It’s a difficult job that requires, now more than ever, thoughtfulness and attention to detail so that no spot goes uncleaned.

 Public Works Employees

The power’s still on. The faucet still runs. The trash still gets picked up. People who work in utilities are keeping our infrastructure strong.  Without them, this pandemic could easily descend into chaos. Electricians, plumbers, and construction workers are essential – right now and always.

The coronavirus pandemic is teaching the US a lot about intrinsic human value. That all work is valuable work – and COVID-19 sheds light on why. Both ER doctor and grocery store cashiers have been classified as essential workers during COVID-19. They’ve both been deemed necessary to keeping our country running and functional.

Many have been furloughed or laid off. Some are lucky enough to work remotely. But we tip our hats to the essential workers. In the midst of the madness, they have helped us all to maintain a semblance of normalcy and are working hard to keep everyone else safe.  And right now, we’re all essential in working to flatten the curve – whether you’re one of the essential workers during COVID-19 or you just have to hunker down at home til summer’s end.

So thank you, essential workers. For putting yourselves on the frontlines of a pandemic. Hopefully you get hazard pay and a long vacation after this.

Looking for work during the coronavirus outbreak? We’ve put together a list of the top 10 industries hiring during the pandemic.