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Farmworkers are now deemed essential. But are they protected?

PRI / April 13, 2020

An estimated 2.5 million farmworkers across the United States are now deemed essential workers — exempt from shelter-in-place restrictions to keep the country’s food supply flowing. Yet at a time when social distancing and careful sanitizing are necessary safeguards against exposure to the coronavirus, little has been done to protect farmworkers.

“If it’s your only income and you don’t really have access to unemployment, then you’ve got to keep working,” said Daniel Sumner, an economist at the University of California, Davis. “You’re willing to do things you wouldn’t do normally.”

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