MINNEAPOLIS — By day, Daniel Hernandez owns and operates the Colonial Market on eat street in South Minneapolis, and doesn't have much time to manage anything outside of that.
However, for the last three weeks he’s been making time and making it his mission to get critical information involving the spread of COVID-19 to the Hispanic community.
"I know the governor is going to speak I come running, if the mayor was going to speak I come running, wait here and send the message to my people," said an eager Hernandez.
Each day when the Minnesota Department of Health holds their COVID-19 update, Hernandez takes to Facebook Live to translate those updates.
"When they finish that’s when I begin," said Hernandez.
It’s a gesture reaching far beyond the metro area.
"I've been getting messages from Washington, I've been getting messages from Illinois, I've been getting messages from New York, from Florida telling me nobody's doing this in our place but we’re listening to you because its similar to what is happening everywhere," said Hernandez.
According to a recent Pew Research Study, the coronavirus pandemic is expected to impact the nation’s nearly 60 million Latinos particularly hard as many of them work in leisure, hospitality and other service industries and are now unemployed and less likely to have health insurance.
"One many of them do not speak the language and second of all many of them are not legal in the country but they have us citizen kids here so they want to know what’s going on, they want to know what’s going on in the schools, they want to know whats going on with the government," said Hernandez.
With more than 160 dialects spoken across the state, another way english second language speakers can access information is through the team at Twin Cities PBS. They’ve been working since 2015 using their own linguists, to translate critical information on their sub channel 2.5 and online.
"English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali, we added Russian," said Lillian McDonald, the organizations Managing Director of Emergency Response Services. She went on to say, "it's not a perfect process but it’s the greatest opportunity that we have to reach as many people as we can who are english second language."
With so much at stake surrounding COVID-19, Hernandez says he refuses to let a little language barrier in these trying times, stand in the way of ultimately saving lives.
"If I don’t do it who will do it," said Hernandez.
Hernadez and his team are also holding a food drive at Colonial Market & Restaurant 2750 Nicollet Avenue, from March 30 - April 10th where you can donate nonperishable items which will be distributed to families in need across the Latino American community locally.
For more information on Twin Cities PBS and their resources for english second language speakers, click here.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.