Wealthy New Yorkers are hiring people to stand in coronavirus testing lines for them

Danielle Zoellner
Wealthy New Yorkers have paid other residents to wait in coronavirus testing lines for them  (AP)
Wealthy New Yorkers have paid other residents to wait in coronavirus testing lines for them (AP)

Wealthy New Yorkers have hired people to stand in line for them to receive a Covid-19 test, as residents report hours-long waits to get their nostrils swabbed.

New Yorkers are finding people to wait for them in these long Covid-19 testing lines through the app TaskRabbit, which allows people to hire others for odd jobs.

Services now offered on the app include coronavirus line-waiting, and some locals have charged up to $80 per hour, the New York Post reports.

“I’ve already done this about five times already,” an out-of-work writer told the publication while waiting in a CityMD line in SoHo for another resident.

“One day I got hired to do two lines, so that’s how busy it is. Every day I’m getting inquiries.”

Officials have implored residents in New York and across the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving within their immediate household only to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. This comes at a time when cases, hospitalisations, and deaths are surging.

But that hasn’t stopped residents to rush to Covid-19 testing centres in New York City and across the state to get a coronavirus test prior to the holiday.

The writer interviewed by the New York Post said a lot of her clients were people in their 20s who worked remotely and looked like they "had the money to spend”.

She charges between $20 to $28 per hour and sets a two-hour minimum for her services. Since last week, the writer has received about two to three inquiries per day.

CityMD locations in New York City have reported up to six-hour long waits this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with lines wrapping down streets and around blocks at multiple locations across the city.

It comes at a time when the city has started to rollback some of its reopening plans in response to cases increasing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure of the city’s public school system, the largest in the country, last Wednesday after new coronavirus cases topped 3 per cent. Indoor dining at restaurants and bars currently remain open, but the mayor has indicated those could also close in the coming weeks if the surge continues.

Mr de Blasio has asked residents to stay within their household for Thanksgiving so schools can reopen in the coming weeks.

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