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French farmers look to urban workers to help in the orchards during COVID-19

John Laurenson May 20, 2020
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Farmers at a vineyard in southern France. Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

French farmers look to urban workers to help in the orchards during COVID-19

John Laurenson May 20, 2020
Heard on:
Farmers at a vineyard in southern France. Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

With France closing its borders to non-European countries due to COVID-19, the seasonal workers who usually come from countries like Morocco to pick France’s fruit are having to stay at home. So farmers are calling on city folk, who have been confined to their apartments, to come and work in the orchards. These urban workers ⁠— builders, chefs, people who would otherwise work in restaurants ⁠— are helping to pick fruit on farms for minimum wage.

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COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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