Dear Humans, from an essential services worker.
An open letter to customers and friends.
This is a stressful time, there’s no denying that. I understand that you need to come into my store for essential things to keep your home life happy during quarantine, whether that’s cleaning products, ingredients to bake with, refills for your coffee maker, or diapers for your baby.
I too, have to keep my home running smoothly.
I write to you today as a stressed and overworked 20-something year old living in the highest risk city in Canada. The government has deemed the services of my business ‘essential’ and therefore, I am still expected to show up for work.
Here’s what you may not understand about what essential workers are going through right now.
We are terribly scared too, but we have to work
The only thing I wish for right now is to be able to be at home with my family, who I am putting at risk every single time I go into work. What you may not know is that for me to be able to support us, I need to be laid off so I can collect employment insurance. My employer won’t lay me off, and I obviously don't have the luxury of working from home.
There is, of course, an option to ‘refuse work’ as put out by the government, but in many cases you will not get paid if you take this route and head home for your own safety. Yes I could apply for insurance, but 1 million other humans have also done that here in Canada, and I would not qualify based on number of hours worked, with a hefty waiting period to boost.
Every time you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose really close to me, I’m full of anxiety. Please step back to social distancing standards. We’re terrified of catching this thing, or any sickness right now, and being sent home because of it. We’re doing our best to continue working so that you, the terrified consumer can come in and get what you need.
We are taking all the precautions we can while at work
What you don’t see is the countless hours and effort that we are putting in to make our stores as sanitary as possible for everyone. So please, come in for what you need, and do it fast, so that you’re not spending time browsing my shelves and touching everything in sight.
In my particular store, you have the option of calling ahead and paying remotely so that I can place your items in your trunk. Only one person has actually done this so far, to my dismay. There are accommodations in place so that you don’t have to come into contact with anyone at all, and you’re still choosing to come in and browse around to ‘kill time.’
The worst part is, I can’t stop you.
We NEED YOU TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY
I have two friends who had COVID-19 symptoms (they couldn’t get the full diagnosis because it was a seemingly ‘mild’ case and they were both young and had good immune systems), and one of them deemed themselves ‘safe’ enough to come into my store to pick something up.
There is NO need to put anyone else at risk. Follow the CDC and public health guidelines for how long you should be quarantined yourself after contracting COVID-19 or if you’ve had COVID-19 symptoms. It is for reasons like this that the spread is happening, and quickly at that.
There are lots of people that are stuck working right now that are already out and about, all in essential services. I for one, would never mind getting a phone call from a friend asking me to pick something up for them so they don’t have to leave. It’s an easy solution really, and all I would have to do is put the bag on their front doorstep and get back in my car. Thank goodness for e-transfers - it really changes the game here and makes all of this so damn easy.
The more people that stay home, the better we will all be.
The final note
This isn’t about you. none of this is about you. this is about the virus, and about the collective well-being of us all. If you choose to go out to grab something non-essential during this time, especially not by yourself, you are to blame here.
I’ll be clear:
If you are sick, stay home.
If you have someone in your household that is sick, stay home.
If you have had a cold, stay home for at least 3 days after all symptoms go away (and hopefully more than that).
Let me make this clear, if you do not have to go out, do not go out.
Do all you possibly can to stop this spread
This could easily get to someone who has a compromised immune system, and by default, you could end up infecting another person even if you have no symptoms.
Please. I’m begging you. do the right thing to keep us all safe.
We will all get through this, but right now, you have to make the right decisions. Stay safe.
An ‘essential service worker’