NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When the Tri-State Area shut down nearly a year ago, essential workers kept us going.
Thousands put themselves at risk every day — from first responders and transit workers, to grocery store employees.READ MORE: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
“I’m not going to say it wasn’t scary. It was different,” he told CBS2’s Alice Gainer. “In the early stages of the pandemic, we had free reign of the streets.”
His route changed from mostly commercial to residential.
“It was pretty desolate. I mean, ghost town, for lack of a better word,” he said.
He served as a life line, bringing packages of food, toilet paper and PPE to people at home.
The most important delivery of his 30-plus years on the job? The first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine to NYU Langone.
“I was just beaming with pride,” Mazzella said.
A YEAR IN THE PANDEMIC: REMEMBRANCE & RESILIENCE
- A Look Back On What’s Been Lost And How Tri-State Has Persevered
- Timeline Of Virus’ Swift Impact Across The Globe
- Long Island Nurse Who Documented Painful Journey Warns Fight Is Not Over
- Essential Workers Risk Their Own Safety To Keep Supplies And Services Running
- Area School Districts Continue To Make Best Of Tough Situation, Always With Eyes On The Future
- Daughter Looks To Carry On Father’s Legacy At Arthur Avenue Restaurant
- Unemployment Forced Many In Our Area To Reinvent Themselves, And Gain Perspective Along The Way
- Food Insecurity Grows Throughout Tri-State Communities, ‘The Face Of Hunger Has Changed’
- The Sports World Stopped, But Hope And Progress Are Beginning To Win The Days
- ‘Long Haulers’ Still On Long Road To Recovery, ‘A Complete Lifestyle Change’
- Vaccines Offer Shot Of Hope, Despite Ongoing Distribution Struggles
Anthony Roberts was laid off from his job at a car dealership during the pandemic and started working for Amazon seven months ago, realizing very quickly what it meant to be essential.
“Some teachers are expecting the office supplies, and certain kids are also looking toward getting their books,” he said.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In NYC: City Officials Modifying Outreach Efforts As Demand For Vaccines Plummets
His job has also been essential for his mental health.
“I see people, I see kids, versus being home and not seeing anyone,” said Roberts.
Pre-pandemic, NYPD Det. Fred Washington would work with at-risk youth in person. But that changed during the shutdown.
“The biggest challenge is to get them on the phone and talk. Some didn’t want to talk, some just had a lot of issues, some were even running away because they didn’t want to be at their own house,” he told Gainer. “I tried to get them jobs, online jobs, so they have income coming in, as well.”
Then, he contracted COVID-19.
“I caught it working,” he said.
- New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX
- New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC
- Track NYC Vaccinations By Zip Code
- Nassau County more info here
- Suffolk County more info here
- Westchester County more info here
- New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545
- Connecticut book online here
“There were seven of us that contracted the virus,” said Charles Passarella, the vice president of maintenance and operation support for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.
Passarella said early on, he responded with co-workers to a water leak. Despite wearing masks, days later, they were sick.
“I’m in the maintenance field, and we can’t do that remotely,” he said.
“We are the ones that have got to take the extra step to help people out in New York City,” said Washington.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Of Bodies Of COVID Victims Still Being Stored In Refrigerated Morgue In Brooklyn
Extra steps that involved extra risk.