Coronavirus And The Gig Economy : The Indicator from Planet Money Many gig workers have suddenly found themselves providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many also feel like they have to work in an unsafe situation.

Coronavirus And The Gig Economy

Coronavirus And The Gig Economy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
Instacart employee Monica Ortega uses her cellphone to scan barcodes showing proof of purchase for the customer while picking up groceries (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Note: We updated this episode to reflect comments from Instacart.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust many gig workers into the forefront of the economy. While many Americans are observing guidelines and staying at home, delivery workers and other service providers are still going out into the world to work. Without shoppers and delivery workers, the economy would likely grind to a halt.

They're providing an essential service. But they're not being treated that way. Their pay is low, they don't have workplace protections, like job security and healthcare, and in some cases, their employers aren't even providing the bare minimum of physical security as they go out and risk their health each day.

Today we talk to one such worker, an Instacart shopper and delivery service provider who talks about what it's like to be a gig employee during the pandemic.

Music: "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night

Additional music by Drop Electric.

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.