What’s it like to be a courier during the coronavirus pandemic

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Couriers or delivery drivers are essential workers during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They help us receive goods and products without having to leave home. This courier speaks about what changes she has seen in people during these uncertain times and what sacrifices she has made to be able to do her job.

I have been a courier for over 30 years now. Currently I am working as a contractor, delivering parcels for online shopping, five days a week in Queensland. At the moment for me the freight loud has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this is not the case for many others working in this industry.

In the last few weeks the amount of delivery has increased by 20 to 30 per cent. While it is good for the dollars in the short term (which I am very grateful for) there is the worry that I am out in the public and going home to my husband. My fear is that I could potentially pass on the coronavirus to my family.

I am not visiting my daughters and granddaughters as I could not live with myself if I was the contact that infected them. Mentally for me, I’m more distressed for my family and their safety. I have three gorgeous daughters, one of whom is an occupational therapist in a Victorian hospital and still working, the other two are working from home. I have two gorgeous granddaughters. My distance from them breaks my heart every day, I am crying when even thinking of them.

My relationship with my 2-year-old granddaughter is too deep, I spend a lot of time with both of my granddaughters during the early days after they’re born, they both are like my own children. Last week I dropped a parcel of items I had been collecting for my 2-year-old granddaughter. I used gloves and other protective materials and left the parcel at their letter box. My granddaughter saw me through the letterbox. She wanted to come and hug me but couldn’t and it was so emotional.

Life is stressful and when I am with my grandchildren I do not think about life I think about what they have been up to. It is like a nice break. So I feel very attached to them.

We all get together and do video chats, we have done it two to three times a week and it is good. During the video chats I try really hard not to be emotional.

I would like to think we will all get through this in one piece medically, but I am so concerned about the ongoing outcomes for our little ones. How are they understanding why they can’t come to visit us who they call me and my husband Mema & Poppy.

It is quite surreal there as everyone is in an ‘ok, helpful spirit.’

My husband and I are self employed but at the moment I support my husband who is waiting for a knee replacement. I am not sure when that will happen as he received a letter last week confirming that his surgery has been postponed indefinitely. My husband is in the same industry, getting in and out of the vehicle multiple times a day is not really possible for him.

I am healthy and when I am out working I take all the precautions I possibly can. When loading at the depot I arrive and go into the bathroom and wash my hands, during the loading process I use the hand sanitizer I have in the door of my vehicle. I have no contact with other couriers and freight travels on a conveyor belt to our vehicles.

It is quite surreal there as everyone is in an ‘ok, helpful spirit.’ I think everyone wants to stay away from each other but they don’t want to show it.

Out on the road, it’s obviously quieter to drive around which helps with the load of deliveries at the moment. Three quarters of my deliveries are residential and a quarter is business and industrial. Our need for signatures for certain deliveries has had a change in regulation, so we can deliver to front doors at a distance and still ensure the delivery is in the correct place. The customers who I call out to through their front doors from a distance call back, thanking me and wishing me to stay safe, which is really heartening as I feel appreciated. This is a change I have noticed in people during the pandemic - they are nicer.

There are many people in different industries still trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability. 

There are times when people have been waiting for a parcel for days and weeks and when they hear or see me delivering the parcel they get excited. I find that rewarding about my job to be able to put a smile on people's faces especially during this time.

I’m grateful to be able to work during this time when many people have lost their jobs. Not everyone who is working in my field has had an increase in freight. A lot of people in this industry have unfortunately lost their work and still have to pay ongoing expenses. I hope my work does continue but I am aware that given the status of our economy maybe people will stop shopping online.

There are many people in different industries still trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability. They all deserve massive thanks and big bonuses and options for holiday relief when this pandemic is over. But what you can do right now is to be nice to everyone and say something extra to the everyday people out there doing their job to make your life more comfortable in these horrific times.