Wealthy New Yorkers are shelling out big bucks to professional line waiters so they won’t have to sit in hours-long COVID-19 testing queues ahead of Thanksgiving.
Cash-strapped locals who offer their line-sitting services on freelance marketplace TaskRabbit told The Post they’ve been charging up to $80 an hour for the service — and people are paying.
“I’ve already done this about five times already,” said one out-of-work writer as she waited in a CityMD line in Soho for someone else.
“One day I got hired to do two lines, so that’s how busy it is. Every day I’m getting inquiries.”
Even as New Yorkers are advised to cancel Thanksgiving plans and only celebrate with their immediate households, thousands are hitting testing sites for some reassurance — and paperwork — ahead of travel and Turkey Day bashes.
But those who don’t have time — or the will — to wait out in the cold all day are turning to stand-ins to do the hard part.
“A lot of people want to visit family or take trips for Thanksgiving and they need some kind of documentation stating they’re COVID free. One of my clients said they’re going on a trip and she needs documentation before she goes,” said the writer, who lives in Jersey City and asked to remain anonymous.
Most of the clients are “fairly young, maybe in their 20s” who work remotely and “have the money to spend,” she said.
Since last week, she has been getting two to three inquiries a day for coronavirus test line-waiting and has jacked up her rates from $20 an hour to $28. She also sets a two-hour minimum to make sure the job is worth her while.
“I’ve waited at the CityMD near Wall Street, waited in Park Slope, I’ve waited [at a location on] East 37th street and Fulton near the World Trade Center,” said the woman, who before the pandemic was often hired to wait in line for things like Shakespeare in the Park and concert tickets.
Another TaskRabbit user told the Post she is charging a whopping $80 an hour.
“A cute guy hired me to wait in line in Greenpoint and when I first got there, I know this sounds silly, I was kind of bummed because the line looked short,” the 27-year-old Manhattanite said.
“I was like, I came all the way out to Greenpoint and I’m just gonna be out here for an hour or something. But then it took three hours.”
The gig earned her $240 and was well worth the time.
“Honestly I do weirder things than this on TaskRabbit all the time so this was actually like a sweet gig,” said the woman, who is currently also “playing Santa Claus” for a wealthy businessman by buying gifts for his family and business associates.
“I was socially distanced, I had my mask on, everyone else was socially distanced and, you know, I just like spent the time in line talking to my grandma and stuff.”
But she questioned whether her client was really just buying a false sense of security.
“The waiting in line thing I totally understand it, my qualm with it isn’t because it’s dangerous,” said the 27-year-old, who just saved up enough money to build a house in Ecuador where she plans to spend every day surfing.
“Relatively speaking, it’s less dangerous for a tasker to wait outside in a mask for a few hours than it is to think getting a test before you see family is the thing that’s going to make everything OK.”
Author : Gabrielle Fonrouge