October 26, 2020

Lost wages, lack of transportation among barriers for lower-income Manitobans who need COVID tests

Carrie Friesen isn’t just worried about missing work if she gets COVID-19. She’s worried about losing hours if she has to get tested — again.

“I can’t afford to go get tested. It may be a free test, but who’s going to pay my bills?”

Losing work — and pay — to get tested is a dilemma facing many young people working in the retail and hospitality industries, Friesen said, and it stands to get tougher as cold and flu symptoms become common. 

Friesen, 21, has already gone for COVID-19 tests five times, and the difficulties she’s had just getting to a test site illustrate how hard the pandemic is on lower-income earners.

Friesen now works two part-time retail jobs. She was laid off as a disabilities support worker after her third COVID-19 test because she kept having to take time off, she said.

She can’t afford car payments since

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