Bronx laundromat offers free laundry services to local hospital staff

A Bronx business has seen the sacrifice and long hours medical professionals are putting in during the COVID-19 epidemic.

To give back to them and show gratitude, NYC’s largest laundromat chain, Clean Rite Center, home to 100 plus stores, is offering free laundry services to local hospital staff in the Bronx at 1240 E Tremont Ave. The service began Monday, March 23 and they plan to eventually deploy it across more locations in the city.

Additionally, Clean Rite started the city’s first no-contact wash/dry bag service that ensures customers can drop off their laundry in a clean environment that is constantly being monitored and disinfected.

“We see what’s going on like everyone else, these doctors and nurses are on the front lines,” said Peter Stern, the vice president of the company. “A lot of these workers are customers or family members of our employees or connected through the community.”

Stern spoke to the Bronx Times about why Clean Rite felt it was important to help doctors and nurses. These medical professionals are putting in grueling hours, watching people get sick and die at an unprecedented rate, so this is the least they could do, he explained.

According to Stern, the coronavirus can live on someone’s clothes for two to three days, therefore having them cleaned thoroughly and in a timely manner is imperative. After working double digit shifts who wants to go home and do laundry? Nobody. People want to eat, shower, relax and sleep.

This free service will ease their minds and give them less stress.

“We need to step up do our part and help these people right now,” he said.

Stern said several medical professionals have already dropped stuff off and he has spoken to nearly 100 nurses and doctors about what they are doing.

He noted the company is doing its best to make the store safe. No more than 10 people are allowed in the laundromat at a time, a professional crew deep-cleaned the facility, seating was removed and the floor was taped off every six feet and has signage for social distancing.

“We had the right staff to jump on it quickly,” he said. “To me it’s just a small token of chipping in.”

Deemed essential places, laundromats remain open, but Stern explained he never envisioned this type of pandemonium.

“Nobody expected this and we were taken by surprise,” Stern commented. “You just have to support the people next to you, be patient, kind and help people in need.”

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