The 1% face a choice: Quarantine with household staff, or cook and clean themselves

One UES resident called a staffing agency asking how to replace a vacuum bag

Some wealthy homeowners in lockdown have a hard choice: pick up the chores themselves or pay staffers extra to quarantine with them (Credit: iStock)
Some wealthy homeowners in lockdown have a hard choice: pick up the chores themselves or pay staffers extra to quarantine with them (Credit: iStock)

Coronavirus isolation measures are forcing well-heeled Americans to consider something they’ve never had to before: chores.

Wealthy employers of drivers, chefs, maids, and other private staffers have to decide whether to pick up their tasks themselves or risk expanding their exposure circles, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A few options are open to them. Some are paying their staff extra to quarantine with them and keep up on the household work. Others try to mitigate risk by having their chefs, for example, cook with masks on and leave food at their doors.

But a few brave souls are bucking up, picking up the vacuum cleaners and getting to work. It doesn’t always go smoothly. For example, a client of Mahler Private Staffing called the company over the weekend asking how to remove a bag from a vacuum and where to find new bags in his Upper East Side apartment.

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“Some are doing household tasks they haven’t done in decades,” said Peter Mahler, owner of Mahler Private Staffing.

He said about 40 percent of his clients decided to pay one or a few staffers extra to quarantine with them at their homes.

Developer Jeff Greene and his family land somewhere in between. They’re allowing their private chef and housekeeper to come in and out of their Palm Beach, Florida home so long as they wear gloves and masks and maintain distance. Greene said he could make dinner just fine, but didn’t want to “terminate people when we don’t have to.” [WSJ— Dennis Lynch