Proud parents of three children ages one to nine, the local El Salvadorian of Jose and Nora Penate are managing work amid the federal and state laws that require people to stay home during the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Sons, Jose, Jr., Kevin and Daniel are being care for by their grandmother who is visiting from El Salvador.
“My wife and I are able to work during this stay at home period,” Penate said. “The nature of our jobs is that we are able to work even though my hours have been reduced by about 20 percent for an indefinite period. If conditions return to normal soon, we will not experience any significant delinquency in paying our bills regularly and on time,” he added.
Penate provides residential apartment maintenance services for a property owner who owns multiple units in the City of Inglewood. Before everyone was encouraged to stay safe at home,’ he had been preparing a one bedroom apartment for a new tenant. The property owner allowed him to continue working even though he cut his hours by one day each week.
“The property owner said that several tenants have already indicated that they may not be able to pay their April rent which may leave him short on funds to pay his workers.” Penate said. “He also said that while tenants have been given a reprieve for rent increases and evictions for an indefinite period, property owners have not been given any reprieve on water bills, property taxes, insurance and other expenses associated with rental property ownership.”
The Penate children are enjoying their time at home. Jose, Jr., has been studying several hours each day while his younger brothers have been playing in their yard and watching Disney movies on television. Jose, Jr. is a good student and his favorite subject is Science. He explained that he recently completed a science experiment at home to determine which soap detergent produced the most suds. He completed the assignment, created a series of charts to reveal his findings and was prepared to present his experiment to his classmates.
“I was proud of my project,” he said, “but my school was shut down before I was able to make my presentation to my classmates.” His father said that his Inglewood elementary school informed him that school has been suspended until May 5, 2020, and he is aware that it is possible that the school will not resume for the duration of the school year.
Having all of the children at home during the week has been much like having a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays. The children’s grandmother, who has been visiting from El Salvador for the last six months and who was planning to return home at the beginning of the summer, is concerned about Covid-19 but glad that she is not home. “I have been told that El Salvador has been completely shut-down and anyone found on the street, that is not authorized, is taken to jail.”
The Penate family is fortunate to live in a single-family home and the children have a private yard where they are able to play in the back yard. In fact they recently helped their father build a children’s play house that is accessible with a four feet ladder. “Between the boys’ playhouse, homework and Disney movies, my oldest son thinks his summer vacation has already begun.”