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Fast Food Workers Face High COVID Risk

An unmasked driver reaches through his car window to grab his fast food order from a masked worker.
A customer receives his food in a McDonald's drive-thru on July 28, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
(Brandon Bell
Getty Images)
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Los Angeles County fast food workers face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than many other categories of employees, and they are often denied workplace protections. That's according to UCLA researchers who recently released the study, Fast-Food Frontline: COVID-19 and Working Conditions in Los Angeles.

Their findings indicate that fewer than half of the workers surveyed are notified by their employers when a colleague tests positive for COVID-19. On top of that, the majority of these workers do not get paid sick leave if they contract the virus.

"It's hard to think of another industry besides health care workers who have to interact so much with the public, and yet their employers are not helping them," says Tia Koonse, one of the study’s lead authors.

She hopes officials will make policy changes to protect fast food workers amid the current surge in coronavirus cases, attributed to the omicron variant.

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