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How the pandemic has changed 3 workers’ lives

A drive-in concert in Anaheim, CA.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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For millions of Americans, another month of rent payments are due this weekend. We checked in with three workers we’ve been following since the start of the pandemic to hear what’s changed in their personal economies.

Maria Barillas

Brooklyn waitress and barista Maria Barillas got a job at a new restaurant in July. Work is busy, but because the restaurant is only offering outdoor dining, she expects business to slow down as it gets colder. With coronavirus cases rising across the U.S., she’s also expecting another shutdown.

“I’ve actually considered trying to figure out if I can break my lease, if the shutdown is in the winter and there’s no sign from the government that there’s going to be a relief bill.”

Seth Shulman

Chicago musician Seth Shulman’s new normal is teaching lessons via Zoom and playing a few shows when he can. His 80s cover band recently performed at a drive-in concert.

“Rent is still a bit of a struggle. I’m not going to lie, I’m still on food stamps and stuff, things that I don’t really enjoy being on. But it could be a lot worse. There’s a lot of people suffering out there.”

April Oliver

April Oliver started working full-time at an environmental consulting company in Bozeman, Montana over the summer. After a few months in the position, she feels integral to the company.

“My main concern right now is I was unemployed for four months. And so my savings was almost completely drained. And I want to get to the point where if I lose my job, I can be unemployed for four months and not be hurting.”

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