While most of the U.S. is practicing social distancing amid COVID-19 — a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus — healthcare workers aren’t afforded the same luxury. Many of them are crucial to fighting the new coronavirus outbreak, remaining on the front lines in some of the most trying times our country has seen.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. While most develop only mild symptoms, some people — like seniors or those who are immunocompromised — can develop more severe symptoms, which can turn fatal. This is why it’s critical for healthcare workers to stay on top of their game, keeping self-care in mind while pulling long hours in sometimes dangerous conditions. To make this easier, several companies and organizations are offering special deals and discounts to first responders and healthcare workers. Here’s a sampling of just a few we’ve found, and we'll continue to update the list as more announcements are made. We've organized the deals and discounted services that are available to COVID-19 responders along the following categories:
- Digital Entertainment
- Fitness Programs
- Food (including both nationwide and locality-specific deals)
- Internet & Phone
- Mental Health Resources
Digital Entertainment Deals & Services
NBCUniversal will make its movies, like “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man,” available at home on the same day as their theatrical releases at on-demand rates.
Netflix and chill with Netflix Party, a new way to synchronize video playback and add group chat with your friends to Netflix content on Chrome browsers for laptop and desktop computers.
Fitness Program Deals & Services
Take time out for fitness and self-care with these streaming exercises:
- 305 Fitness: Dance cardio workouts on YouTube.
- Barre3: Use code BARRE3HOMEBODY here for a 15-day free trial for non-members.
- CorePower Yoga: Free online classes on the CorePower Yoga On Demand site.
- Nike Training Club App: Get free workouts by professional trainers on the app, or upgrade to a premium account for advanced workouts.
- Planet Fitness: Now streaming 20-minute workouts on daily Facebook Live events, starting at 7 p.m. ET on their Facebook page.
Food Deals & Discounts Nationwide
Free or Discounted Meals for COVID-19 Responders
Caffè Nero is offering free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to all medical professionals who go to any of their locations. All you need to do is present your medical ID to the cashier.
El Pollo Loco offers a special service discount to first responders, including EMTs and firefighters. Ask a cashier prior to payment, and show a badge if not in uniform. They’re also providing sealed and tamper-free delivery bags.
Honeygrow, a fast-casual chain restaurant, is offering a BOGO deal to healthcare professionals through Wednesday, April 1. Order at the kiosk, choose cash at the payment screen, and then present a work ID at the counter to activate the offer.
In honor of National Doctors Day and National Nurses Week, Krispy Kreme is offering a free dozen donuts on Mondays through May 11 to anyone who works in the medical sector. All you need to do is present your employee badge. The great news here is that it isn't a one-time event: You can go back multiple times to take advantage of this deal.
Through May 3, 2020, Starbucks is offering free tall hot or iced coffees to all healthcare professionals and first responders (e.g., police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other hospital/medical staffers).
Sweetgreen, a salad delivery service, is dedicating their "Outpost" operations to delivering free salads and bowls to hospitals in their service areas. Go to bit.ly/sgimpactoutpost to fill out of form if you’re interested.
Free or Discounted Deliveries
&Pizza will be offering “free, contactless deliveries” of unlimited pizzas to hospital workers who show identification, as well as to &Pizza’s own employees and immediate family members. Text #HERO at 200-03 with a photo of valid ID.
Grocery delivery service Instacart has instituted a “Leave at My Door Delivery” policy to eliminate person-to-person contact.
Additional Deals Available to You
Some other restaurant discounts not specific to healthcare workers include:
- Burger King: BK is Giving away two free kids meals with purchases made through its app for takeout and drive-through orders, March 20 - April 6. Can be redeemed once daily. BK is also offering free delivery via mobile app for orders over $10.
- Chipotle: Chipotle will deliver orders of $10 or more for free from March 15-31 for orders made via chipotle.com or on its app. Participating stores only.
- KFC: KPC is offering free delivery through April 26 on orders made via kfc.com.
- Popeyes: Offering free delivery through its mobile app and website.
Local Food Deals & Discounts
Cities and states around the country are pushing residents to support local businesses. This goes for restaurants, too, now that many are limited to curbside pick-up and take-out only. If you’re in one of these areas, check out some of the local discounts offered to medical workers and first responders:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lescombes Winery & Bistro is offering 50% off meals for first responders and medical professionals with medical ID or badge.
Buffalo, New York
Cantina Loco is offering a Crisis Abatement Plan, including a 50% discount on pick-up orders to any medical professionals or hospital staffers with ID.
Terry Black’s Barbecue is offering 30% off to all medical workers and first responders for all pickup, delivery or catering orders. Offer also stands for their Austin location.
Fort Myers/Naples, Florida
Brunos of Brooklyn is offering 10% off for all first responders, and children eat free
LaMotta’s Italian Restaurant is offering first responders 20% off with ID.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
The Dough Shoppe is offering nurses and others in the medical field, in addition to first responders, 25% off two items with valid ID.
Switch Restaurant is offering free meals and deliveries for first responders, a special they usually only extend to seniors.
Chelo’s Hometown Bar & Grille is offering 30% off for healthcare workers and first responders at curbside pickup with a photo ID badge.
Rochester, New York
DiBella’s Subs is offering 50% off to first responders, nurses, healthcare workers and doctors. This offer also stands for its Buffalo location.
Pincho is offering hospital workers and first responders 50% off with a valid ID until further notice.
Barrio Brewing is offering free meals to first responders and medical professionals on Saturday, March 21 while supplies last.
The Parish is offering 50% off for healthcare workers, first responders, pharmacists and more by calling 520-797-1233.
Healthcare Deals & Services
CVS is offering the following deals right now:
- Home prescription medication delivery charges waived.
- Insured and Medicare members offered 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions through Aetna.
- Early refill limits waived on 30-day prescription maintenance medication.
Housing Services & Support
On March 26, 2020, Airbnb announced a global initiative that "will provide free or subsidized housing for healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders, typically closer to where they are working." The company is hoping to provide housing for 100,000 COVID-19 responders around the world and "will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative." Currently, Airbnb is prioritizing finding housing for those first responders who are working with the company's partner organizations: The International Rescue Committee, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Medical Corps. However, if you are a COVID-19 responder who doesn't work with one of their partners, Airbnb still encourages you to get in touch to send them your information and they will respond as soon as they can. You can learn more about the initiative here.
Internet & Phone Deals
Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Google, T-Mobile, and Sprint signed a pledge to keep Americans connected for the next 60 days, even for those who can’t afford to pay.
Mental Health Resources & Support
Apps to Help You Manage Your Mental Health
Many healthcare workers coping with stress and anxiety during these times have found relief from mental health apps. Here are some of the most widely used:
- Headspace is a meditation service that is currently offering free access to their library of recorded meditations for all healthcare workers.
- BetterHelp is similar to Talkspace and offers counseling for individuals, couples, and teens. Communicate via messaging, chat, phone, and video whenever you need it, or have a live session to talk one-on-one at a scheduled time.
- Talkspace, which offers $100 off with the code 1004U, uses thousands of licensed therapists. It helps bridge the gap between in-person appointments by allowing you to send your therapist a message whenever you want. Therapists respond one to two times per day, and you can schedule video chats if you need more. They’re even offering a COVID-19 anxiety management program for subscribers.
- Woebot lets you try the app for free to see if it’s for you. Built by Stanford psychologists, Woebot is similar to Wysa’s AI chat feature, with an empathetic chatbot who knows how to ask the right questions.
- Wysa is offering free AI chat and self-care tool packs for anxiety and isolation support through the COVID-19 crisis. They say their AI chat “makes you feel heard.” The chatbot doesn’t offer opinions and analysis, like a human would, but instead asks the right questions to help you figure things out on your own. You can also pay less than $100 a month for daily messaging support and eight live sessions with a qualified mental health therapist.
Tips for Managing Your Mental Health
In the wake of ever-increasing quarantines and rising numbers of COVID-19 patients, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has released a list of tips for people to help manage their mental health:
- Find a mental health provider who offers tele-therapy or online services.
- Ask your doctor for a 90-day supply of any prescribed medications, if allowed. If declined, challenge the decision at least three times, as allowances may change as COVID-19 conditions worsen.
- Stay informed by following public health expectations.
- Keep self-care a priority. Pay attention to your symptoms, and stay in touch with family and friends.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes a section for responders in their section on stress and coping with COVID-19. Here are some things you can do to reduce reactions from secondary traumatic stress (STS) as a healthcare worker or first responder:
- Acknowledge that you can be impacted by STS.
- Learn the physical and mental symptoms of STS — fatigue, illness, fear, withdrawal, and guilt.
- Allow yourself the time to recover.
- Create a list of self-care activities you enjoy, like exercising, reading, or FaceTiming with friends.
- Take a break, especially from constant media coverage.
- Ask for help, especially if you’re overwhelmed and feel it’s affecting your ability to care for yourself, your family and your patients.
Additional Mental Health Resources Available to You
And for general informational purposes, here are some excellent resources for immediate one-on-one help in the U.S.:
- Crisis Text Line: Text CRISIS to 741741 for free crisis counseling
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)
Ways to Help Each Other During This Time
Any healthcare worker with friends and loved ones looking for ways to give back can direct them to these legitimate charities:
Donating Money: The Center for Disaster Philanthropy
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has created a COVID-19 Response Fund to support those affected by COVID-19, as well as first responders.
Donating Supplies: Direct Relief
Direct Relief is taking donations of essential medical items to healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.