Gig Worker Adapts to Pandemic's Changes to Keep Working

Shannon Mainville is a full-time gig worker. The Cohoes native enjoys being her own boss and having flexibility in her schedule. She’ll usually work six days a week between eight and 10 hours a day.

“This is one thing that I really enjoy doing,” said Mainville, who typically drives for Uber and Lyft. “I love to drive.”

This has been her main source of income since ride-sharing was approved for upstate three years ago. But when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, Mainville said she was a little hesitant on driving passengers. So she switched things up.

“That was one thing I was adamant about,” Mainville said. “I wanted to see what I was able to do in these gig apps.”

Instead of driving around people, Mainville started driving around groceries, food, and other essential items. She did this through apps like Instacart, Uber Eats, and Roadie. Mainville would pick things up for those who didn’t want to leave their home.

“The food gig was good. It got me through the pandemic and making money where I could still make money,” Mainville said. “But I really enjoy having people in my car.”

By adapting, Mainville said she never had to file for unemployment.

Last month, she resumed driving people again when the region hit phase three of reopening. But it’s different now: Masks have to be worn at all times, always sanitizing the car, and no passenger in the front seat.

“You’re not allowed to drive unless you confirm the COVID-19 precautions and you don’t take a picture of yourself with a mask on,” Mainville said.

She said the demand is still there even amid a pandemic. But with the world constantly changing, she says gig workers have to be willing to adapt to what’s going on. Being able to roll with the punches is what Mainville says allows her to keep doing what she loves: driving.