Rich New Yorkers are hiring people at $80 an hour to wait in line for them at COVID testing centers ahead of Thanksgiving getaway
- Lines for coronavirus testing in New York City are lengthening as holidays near
- Websites such as TaskRabbit offer freelances a job in the ‘gig economy’
- People are being paid as much as $80 an hour to wait in line for a COVID test
- Before pandemic, same people would wait in line for new iPhones and tickets
New Yorkers with money to burn are paying people to stand in line for them instead of queueing for a COVID test in the run up to Thanksgiving.
Lines can sometimes be hours long as people scramble to get tested before the holidays when they plan to meet up with friends and family members.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have become unemployed and now many are turning to the gig economy to make money.
New Yorkers wait on line at City MD Urgent Care on 42nd street near 9th Avenue to be tested
TaskRabbit routinely has posting by people offering to wait in line on behalf of others
Those looking to make some extra income are posting their services on the freelance marketplace TaskRabbit with some charging up to $80 an hour for the service.
‘I’ve already done this about five times already,’ said one out-of-work writer to the New York Post.
‘One day I got hired to do two lines, so that’s how busy it is. Every day I’m getting inquiries.’
Despite New Yorkers being advised to cancel any holiday plans they had made and avoid traveling, testing sites have been busier than usual as thousands look for some reassurance before traveling.
Many want to get tested before heading home or to gather with family on Thanksgiving
In recent days, lines have routinely stretched around the block at COVID testing sites in NYC
What used to be waiting in line for a new iPhone or theater tickets has now become a COVID-19 test all through TaskRabbit
In the ‘gig economy’, waiting in line and getting paid for it is the perfect way to pick up some extra cash.
The term ‘side gig’ has become synonymous with a handful of jobs: dog walking, delivering groceries and driving for Uber or Lyft. But these aren’t the only opportunities occupying the space and waiting in line for others is proving to be extremely popular.
One woman told how she had been getting up to three inquiries a day in order to wait in line for coronavirus testing and was able to charge up to $28 an hour.
‘A lot of people want to visit family or take trips for Thanksgiving and they need some kind of documentation stating they’re COVID free. One of my clients said they’re going on a trip and she needs documentation before she goes,’ said one queue-waiter.
She noted that most her clients were ‘in their 20s, work remotely and have the money to spend.’
‘I’ve waited at the CityMD near Wall Street, waited in Park Slope, I’ve waited on East 37th street and Fulton near the World Trade Center,’ she said.
A video on TikTok explained to users how they could wait in line for someone else and get paid
Plenty of people on social media did not like the idea of having someone wait in line on their behalf
Before the pandemic struck, people were often called upon using the app to wait in line for everything from new iPhones to Broadway tickets and concert seats for which an appearance at the box office in-person was necessary.
Another user on TaskRabbit who is 27 told The Post how she was able to charge $80 an hour.
‘A cute guy hired me to wait in line in Greenpoint and when I first got there, I know this sounds silly, I was kind of bummed because the line looked short I was like, I came all the way out to Greenpoint and I’m just gonna be out here for an hour or something. But then it took three hours,’ the woman said.
‘I was socially distanced, I had my mask on, everyone else was socially distanced and, you know, I just like spent the time in line talking to my grandma and stuff.
‘Relatively speaking, it’s less dangerous for a tasker to wait outside in a mask for a few hours than it is to think getting a test before you see family is the thing that’s going to make everything OK.’