May 25, 2020 in Local News

Cape Cod's Young Workers Share their COVID-19 Stories

It is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our Cape Cod community and will likely continue to affect local businesses, organizations, and residents for weeks and months to come. But how has COVID-19 changed the daily realities of young working age adults on Cape Cod? What new - or increased - challenges are they facing?

From April 17 through May 18, 2020, CCYP conducted a COVID-19 needs survey to answer these very questions. We asked young people on the Cape how the pandemic has impacted them, what keeps them up at night, and what gives them hope. What they shared with us were raw, honest, and eye-opening responses - sometimes inspiring, sometimes sobering, sometimes both. Now, we're giving their voices a much-needed platform.

What follows are testimonials on the COVID-19 experiences, hopes, and hardships of young people on the Cape - direct quotes from some of the 130 people (nearly all age 18-44) who responded to our survey. It is our sincere hope that these testimonials will help provide a sense of shared understanding and community for people of all ages living and working on the Cape. But we also hope they will contribute to advocacy efforts to support the critical needs of young people and families trying their hardest to sustain a life in this special place. Thank you to those who took the time to respond and candidly share their stories. And thank you to the essential and front-lines workers in all industries who are putting their health - mental and physical - and the health of their families at risk daily to do their jobs and help our community. We hear you, we're with you, and CCYP is here to support you in any way we can.

Full results of the COVID-19 Needs Survey are forthcoming and will be released to the public in the form of an Executive Summary of Findings in the upcoming weeks.

If you need resources or assistance, please refer to CCYP's COVID-19 Resource Page, or reach out to us at

“The stress of parenting children through this scary time while trying to work and attend meetings remotely has been much higher than I anticipated. We are so lucky to have our basic needs met but we are struggling emotionally.”
"In a time of such uncertainty and financial insecurity, I have also found a sense of peace and relief from some the anxiety that I was experiencing in everyday life. Now that not even tomorrow is certain, I live much more happily in the moment. I do not feel panicked, I do not feel scared, and I do not feel abnormal. Finally, I am normal. It is now, under these conditions, that everyone else finally understands how my mind races wildly. How, even when I do not want to think, my mind goes to places far and wide, light and dark. The truth is, this reality has not truly changed for me, however, now that widespread fear and panic has struck, I have begun to feel validated in having anxiety."
“I am currently not working because I am afraid that I will bring the virus home and infect my mother who has a rare form of blood cancer. I love to work and I have taken very, very few vacation days over the past 5 years. I have tried unsuccessfully to get a driver’s license at least a dozen times, but I have diagnosed anxiety that makes me nervous during testing situations. My 7-Eleven job is walking distance from my home, so I don’t need to drive there. So I was lucky to have that job, even though it was part-time. My job was also important in that I was able to socialize with staff and customers. Being on the spectrum, socializing is difficult for me but in the structured context of my job, I am able to get a good dose of human interaction because when I go home, I’m basically isolated with my mother with occasional visits to other family members (but this has also ended because of the risk to my parents).”
“The unknown of the future ahead keeps me up at night. Not knowing how much longer I will have my job and if I lose it how I will be able to continue living here.”
“Things have gotten crazy with two “Essential” workers trying to work remotely (one with constantly changing hours and responsibilities as the company changes the overall job requirements) and two children attending school online all at the same time. There has been significant loss in productivity trying to juggle helping the kids, keep them on track and focused, and managing to get our own 40+ hours of work done.”
“I am 8 months pregnant with my 2nd child while also working from home with a 2 year old. I am constantly stressing over the health of my family and my unborn child. We are doing our best to take all necessary precautions but I am scared that either my husband or I will get sick before my due date. I am also scared to bring a newborn into this world during a pandemic. I am worried about postpartum and how I will feel being isolated from friends and family as I transition to being a mother of two.”
“I work [in healthcare], which has been handling this situation very well for their employees, but I am just more fearful of everyone I work with and who I am coming in contact with and who they have been in contact with. It feels like taking a blind chance when any one of your coworkers could have had contact with someone outside of work. There is fear that someone I work with might miss a step to protect themselves when dealing with the sick COVID Patients that we see as well.”
"I'm grateful to have a home and employment I can do from home. Just a bit overwhelming trying to juggle working full-time yet helping my children meet their educational requirements. Grateful to live in a beautiful place where we can get out for walks to clear my mind."
“The stress and fear of contaminating someone else is super strong. Sometimes I don't leave my house for 4-6 days at a time. I'm worried about the safety of my older relatives, and it's hard to do the things outside work that bring me fulfillment.”
"As a physician in the emergency department, I am inspired by the positive attitude and dedication to their patients that my coworkers have shown through this uncertain time. I am also thankful for the overwhelming support the community has shown through donations of food, masks, kind words, signs, etc. Thank you and we will get through this together."