Keeping those still working safe

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(WBRE/WYOU) — The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the commonwealth workforce hard and leaving many Pennsylvanians out of the workplace.

It’s all about the social distancing and a heavy hand on sanitation. Checking in with businesses and first responders in our area, here’s what we found. What would normally be a packed house at Franco’s in Wilkes-Barre, especially for pizza lovers during Lent, was instead a quiet and steady flow.

“We’re pretty much cutting to the bare minimum to make the operation run,” owner Rosa Bellia said.

Owners like Bellia surviving by cutting staff, keeping strictly to take-out and delivery service through the parking lot.

“We have it on a limited access to our side door so we can eliminate the entrance of customers coming in as well as keep a distance from us to them, as well,” Bellia said.

Small businesses cling to local support in these cautious times. Offices deemed essential are practicing social distancing but demand has gone up for businesses like Jan-Pro in Plains Township.

“We pick up the trash, we clean the restrooms. We dust and we vacuum,” president Stephen Zirnheld said.

The business tilting more and more from standard janitorial to full disinfecting services using different machines to take care of the job. Even with products being environmentally friendly, “the best thing you can do is make sure you’re using hospital-grade chemicals. You can’t go out to the Dollar Store and buy chemicals. They just aren’t the same quality,” Zirnheld said.

With many workplaces come a lot of restrictions across the commonwealth, but EMS, fire and police are all essential. What are they doing to make sure that they stay safe as well as the communities they serve?

“It’s business as usual. We’re sort of used to this sort of thing,” Greater Pittston Ambulance Association Vice President Mike Lombardo said.

First responders, now more than ever, being vigilant about patient contact and equipment sterilization, taking staff precautions like taking temperatures and adhering to housecleaning protocols.

“Doubling our efforts in terms of what we normally do and what we normally do is very stringent,” Lombardo said.

First responders, essential personnel, and those local businesses are all on the front lines amidst growing COVID-19 concerns

We will continue bringing the latest as this pandemic unfolds and hope to see local support for those in the workplace.

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