PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are obvious business and industries that are “essential” to keep working during the pandemic — health care providers and hospitals, law enforcement, grocery stores.
Know what else is essential? Sanitation services.
In Portland, Arrow Sanitary Service employs around 100 people, men and women who work hard to keep the waste stream moving. With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, it is essential that waste is moved effectively and efficiently. But, in order to do so, companies like Arrow Sanitary are urging citizens to respect their distance and be mindful when bagging garbage.
“We as a company and also as an industry in Portland have been asking our residents to please bag their garbage and trash and avoid any loose material outside the containers,” said Josh Brown, the district manager for Arrow Sanitary Services. “We are really stressing the more the waste stream is in containers and bagged the safer our employees are and the less exposure they have on route.”
The City of Portland also released a statement Wednesday updating the public on what to do if a pickup is delayed, plus guidelines for bagging garbage and more.
Arrow Sanitary Services is currently running a full staff, but Brown said it’s essential to keep the staff healthy.
“We have had record high attendance levels in the last few weeks because we are very committed to keep the public safe and continuing keep the trash and recycling picked up off the streets,” he told KOIN 6 News. “Should we not be able to do that due to impact of COVID-19 this pandemic could become much worse from a spreading of the virus.”
Brown also said they are practicing social distancing within the company by holding smaller and fewer team meetings. They also adjusted their on-call center employees to work from home. But with schools out there are still concerns about keeping employees out in the field safe.
“With kids being out of school across the Portland metro area there’s a lot more kids in the neighborhoods. Please be aware that when we’re coming through the neighborhoods to limit your exposure with our guys. Please try to keep your children away from our team. Kids are often attracted to garbage trucks, which we typically enjoy. But during this time it’s best to keep your distance away.”