Some of the most essential workers right now are people who literally confront the coronavirus when they sanitize public spaces. Anago Cleaning Franchisee, Antonio Martinez, has been running his commercial cleaning business in Miami for 13 years. Antonio spoke with NPR about what it’s like on the frontlines of COVID-19 and the importance of keeping businesses clean.
NOEL KING, HOST:
Some of the most essential workers right now are people who literally confront the coronavirus when they sanitize public spaces. Antonio Martinez (ph) has a franchise with the cleaning company Anago. He’s been running his business in Miami for 13 years. He says he has a lot of clients.
ANTONIO MARTINEZ: Medical facilities, doctor office, regular office – I have a car dealer, a hotel, exterminators (laughter).
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
He normally visits sites during the day and trains his employees how to clean properly. His business is doing way more deep cleaning than ever before.
MARTINEZ: It’s crazy (laughter). Everybody wants their desk, their doors, the elevators, their handles, the refrigerator – everything that everybody touch on a daily basis, they want everything disinfected, which is not common.
KING: Because Martinez cleans medical facilities, he already had the masks and the gloves. But as COVID-19 spread, he went to hardware stores and bought full-body suits for extra protection. And he’s told his employees – if you’re not wearing PPE, don’t work. They get paid hourly, and now what they’re doing takes twice as long.
MARTINEZ: People think that disinfecting is just taking, like, a Lysol wipe and clean the surface. It doesn’t work like that. You need to spray the entire office. You wait between a minute to two minutes for the chemical to kill the germ, and then you wipe it down. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done.
GREENE: Antonio Martinez is 49 years old. He has two children. And his family is worried about him.
MARTINEZ: Especially my wife – don’t go; be careful. But I have to go. I’m like a captain of any ship, and I want my employees to see that I’m there for them, for our customers.
GREENE: Martinez says with millions more Americans now unemployed, he and his colleagues feel lucky to be working.