Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Erin Haynes


Objective: A global pandemic caused businesses in the United States to shutdown based on essential vs. non-essential criteria. There has been a lot of research discussing the impact of the shutdown on healthcare frontline workers. Little is known about other essential and non-essential workers, that continued working outside the home during the shutdown. The purpose of this paper is to examine the financial and mental health issues encountered by essential and non-essential workers that continued working outside the home during the Spring 2020 shutdown.

Methods: Snowball sampling of an online survey that was available from May 8 – June 6, 2020. Questions inquired about mental health, financial issues, and employment status. Survey responses were grouped by working status.

Results: 184 of 633 participants continued to work outside the home during the shutdown. This sub-study focused on the 112 participants working in non-healthcare related jobs. 51 (46%) worked in essential jobs, while 61 (55%) worked non-essential jobs. Majority of respondents were Caucasian and female. About one third of workers that continued working outside the home during the shutdown reported negative financial impact. Sixty percent reported one or more mental health impact.

Conclusion: Further research is needed to identify best practices to reduce negative financial and mental health impacts for the workers that cannot do their job from home during a pandemic.

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