Essential Business Workers Staying in Business Amid Pandemic

Technology is helping local workers navigate the pandemic and encourage social distancing

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If you can't tell by our newscasts this week, we're all adjusting to new routines and methods to continue our daily lives.

It goes to show that the technology we've had for years can be used in new ways to help us navigate the pandemic.

For instance, many of us have yard work that needs to be done. While lawn care professionals are considered "essential business" during the stay-at-home orders, that means these people can continue to work. And there's an app some are using to do that safely.

Curtis Douglas of Burleson uses an app called GreenPal while continuing his lawn care business, Texas Turf Pros, amid the pandemic.

“If you don’t take care of your lawn code compliance can come in and you’ll get rodents and ticks and fleas and whatnot,” he said.

It goes to show that the technology we’ve had for years can be used in new ways to help us navigate the pandemic.

It allows for homeowners to post their landscaping needs on the app or the website and then people like Douglas can bid on it -- without having to visit the property and talk face to face with the owner.

The workers post a photo when they're done and the payment is all done through the app -- no cash is exchanged.

“They can be at home sitting on the couch, put the information in and get the yard mowed. They pay online so there’s basically no contact with anybody if you don’t want any contact,” said Douglas.

Douglas said he's noticing a bigger need for technology like this right now for the people who are without work, who can use this as an option to earn some extra money during this difficult time.

“With the shelter in place policy and social distancing, the app really works for that,” he said. “It’s a service that needs to be done and it’s an essential service like I said, I am a solo operator, I work alone so I don’t have any contact with a coworker.”

As more businesses close, many people are asking, what defines a business as “essential?”

Douglas is still getting a steady flow of clients, mostly from the elderly and single mothers. This could be a glimpse of how the workforce might change as we navigate the next few months.

Here are some other professions that are considered essential business:

  • Trash/recycling
  • Plumbers & electricians
  • Exterminators
  • Funeral homes & cemeteries
  • Security guards
  • Building cleaning professionals

The county said all of these services are needed to maintain safety and sanitation for other essential businesses and the places we live in.

County guidelines do require for all of these jobs to still be performed while maintaining social distancing of at least six feet apart, washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer.

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