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Dental Hygienist Worries If People Will Get Teeth Cleaned For Fear Of Coronavirus

The dental practice where Candace Grenier has worked for two decades shut down in mid-March. That's just before her son, Ryeder, lost his job at an auto body shop.
The dental practice where Candace Grenier has worked for two decades shut down in mid-March. That's just before her son, Ryeder, lost his job at an auto body shop.

"Let's see – it's not that bad; 37 degrees," Candace Grenier says, reading the thermometer outside a window of her Anchorage home.

When the temperature gets above freezing, it's a good day. Not just because it feels better, but it's also good for the electric bill and because Grenier can no longer justify paying $50 to $70 to get her driveway plowed.

The dental practice where she has worked for two decades shut down in mid-March, just before her son, Ryeder, also lost his job at an auto body shop.

She had hoped to use accumulated sick leave and paid time off to cover some of her expenses, but the dental office couldn't afford to pay that out. Unemployment benefits took time to process, she says, because there have been so many layoffs.

Even when things reopen, Grenier worries people will forgo dental cleanings as they worry about getting the coronavirus by visiting a dental office. "People may decide that, 'Hey, I'm not going to take that risk,' " she says.

To make the most of her savings, she's cut all luxuries — and is waiting to see if she needs to delay her mortgage payment. She traded her specialty coffee beans for a bulk Costco version. She also looks forward to getting her hair dyed when she can get back to work. "I'm 53, so there are definitely roots showing."

Read more stories in Faces Of The Coronavirus Recession.

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