Walmart is among those hiring during the pandemic. (Courtesy of Walmart)
Walmart is among those hiring during the pandemic. (Courtesy of Walmart)

Just as social distancing and self-isolation have become synonymous with coronavirus, shuttered businesses, layoffs and government-ordered lockdowns have left many without a paycheck.

And in the coming months, experts project unemployment to exceed 20 percent.

Amid the grim reality of the battle to survive physically and financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, some well-known companies have injected hope by announcing they’re currently hiring.

The retail giant Amazon announced that it plans to hire 100,000 people across the country during the pandemic to help with online deliveries. Amazon said it’s also raising minimum pay to $17 an hour.

“We hope people who’ve been laid off will come work with us until they’re able to go back to the jobs they had,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a statement posted to his Instagram account.

For the protection of employees and customers, Amazon has implemented several health and safety measures in response to the crisis.

“Everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines,” Bezos wrote, adding that Amazon has ordered millions of face masks to help protect workers.

The grocer Kroger said it’s looking to hire as many as 10,000 workers at its stores, plants and warehouses.

“We’re hiring every day,” Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger, told CNBC this week. “We have relationships with several different other industries where they’re directing their people to us. We have a ton of openings.”

Pepsi, the global beverage company, also said they are planning to bring aboard 6,000 new full-time employees across the country. The company said the new hires would immediately receive full benefits.

“Our frontline employees — the people you see stocking your favorite bags of chips or canisters of oats, the people driving those products there and the ones originally making them in plants across the country — are the backbone of PepsiCo Foods, and we appreciate their heroic efforts,” said PepsiCo Foods North America CEO Steven Williams.

Additionally, the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced they are hiring as many as 150,000 new employees through the end of May. Although the Walmart jobs are temporary, company officials said the pandemic and the need for essential household goods had necessitated such hiring.

“We know millions of Americans who are temporarily out of work, and at the same time, we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon noted in a statement.

Domino’s Pizza also wants to hire as many as 10,000 workers, including pizza makers, customer service representatives, and delivery drivers.

“Our corporate and franchise stores want to make sure they’re not only feeding people but also providing an opportunity to those looking for work at this time, especially those in the heavily-impacted restaurant industry,” Domino’s CEO Richard Allison said in a news release.

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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