Still at Workers Series Features D.C. Sanitation Worker During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 12, 2020

1 Min Read

WAMU American University Radio is highlighting “still at workers” in a new series showing what lives are like right now for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week they caught up with Octavia French, a sanitation worker for the Washington, D.C. Department of Public Works. 

French said her typical workday starts at 6:15 a.m. and her route takes her all over D.C. Recently, she said she has noticed more residential waste since everyone is home.

“People are ordering a lot of boxes. It’s more recycling than usual because everybody’s home. They’re eating or drinking or ordering stuff, cleaning up their houses,” said French. “The kids and the citizens, they leave notes on the can or on the ground or on their doors or their gates, like thank yous and saying how much they appreciate us. In Capitol Hill, the kids drew in chalk “Thank you, DPW,” on the ground. It was very nice. And there’s no traffic. Basically, it’s empty. It’s only us on the streets.”

French said they were given face masks and extra gloves and hand sanitizer for protection.

“They gave us some hand sanitizer, but I already had some in the truck before the coronavirus. As long as I keep myself safe and make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, then I feel safe,” she said.

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