The New York City Department of Sanitation's (DSNY) refuse and recycling collection has continued, though possibly at different times on different days, and despite a number of DSNY employees getting sick through the spring. It hopes to curb any spreading of COVID-19 by sanitizing 6,500 trucks before and after each shift and temporarily closing DSNY garages for sanitization.
Mack trucks make up the vast majority of the DSNY’s heavy-duty fleet, which includes everything from refuse and recycling collection to snow removal. Employees already wear gloves and are encouraged to wear face coverings when social distancing is not an option. Each truck is cleaned before and after each shift. Garages are cleaned by staff three times a day, seven days a week.
DSNY operates 59 garages, all of which have closed for a deep cleaning at some point during the pandemic as a result of someone at the garage testing positive. In a press release, DSNY Deputy Commissioner Rocco DiRico said every garage in the city has been closed at some point, and some have closed more than once.
COVID-19 created a need for DSNY to implement multiple safety measures to ensure the safety of its employees, while also keeping New York City streets clean for citizens. DSNY is now operating three shifts a day, with most of the refuse and recycling collection occurring at night or in the early morning hours to promote social distancing.
While a number of DSNY employees have tested positive for the virus, most have already recovered and returned to work. DSNY is, however, mourning the loss of 14 employees who died from COVID-19 or presumed COVID-19 complications.