SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A custodian from San Francisco testified remotely before a Senate subcommittee hearing Thursday about the impact of coronavirus on essential workers.

Marcos Aranda told the committee that custodians spend entire shifts cleaning high-risk surfaces, so they can be safe for everyone else. His only protection: latex gloves and a dust mask.

Aranda said it wasn’t enough to shield one of his coworkers, who recently caught the virus.

“I stayed home for 2 days afterward, but then I had to return to work,” Aranda recalled. “Janitors don’t have the option of working from home, and many janitors don’t have paid sick leave. If they stay home, they don’t get paid.”

“Now when I go to work I’m not only worried about my own health but also worried about the health of my family,” he went on to say. “My wife and I live with our six kids, my mom, my sister and her two kids.”

No one in Aranda’s family has fallen ill, but they are hurting financially. Aranda said he is supporting them all on one paycheck, after his wife was laid off in March.

Aranda and the others who testified Thursday are calling for more money for essential workers during the pandemic, along with paid sick days, and access to PPE. 

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