The coronavirus pandemic is widening the chasm between Colorado’s haves and have-nots

There was profound inequality in Colorado even as the economy boomed. The pandemic has only made it worse.

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 21: Felicity Evitt, is a front-end manager at a King Soopers in Denver where a dozen employees have tested positive and one recently died. Evitt was friends with the employee who died and is upset that essential workers aren't being offered better workplace protections on May 21, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

On April 15, Randy Narvaez posted on Facebook that his best friend had just died of COVID-19.

Randy Narvaez, 51, worked at King Soopers for almost 30 years before dying from COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of the Narvaez family)
Randy Narvaez, 51, worked at King Soopers for almost 30 years before dying from COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of the Narvaez family)

“Way too close to home for me,” he wrote. “Yet I still see so many people out on the street. Not obeying this ‘stay at home’ order. Come on now people, this is serious!”

Narvaez worried he’d get infected, too. The 51-year-old Denver native, a nearly 30-year employee at King Soopers, based for the last couple years at the store on Capitol Hill, was, like many of his co-workers, disappointed — even “disgusted,” his sister said — by how many customers weren’t wearing masks or maintaining six-foot distancing. And he wanted company brass to do more to protect the staff.

He knew he was at risk, but kept going to work every day because he and his family needed the money.

Read more of the story on The Denver Post