Essential workers should be treated essentially

Abigail Prichett, Assistant Growl Editor

During this worldwide pandemic, many people are staying inside and limiting their contact with others, but essential workers don’t have that option. They are the backbone of our society and this hellish year has only proven this to be true.

But despite the efforts of frontline nurses, doctors, teachers, grocery store workers, and others, they are still treated with disrespect. A quick search will show you countless videos of customers berating staff when asked to wear a mask, getting impatient whilst waiting, and calling the police after being denied entry to stores while mask-less.

This takes us into the somehow controversial topic of masks being required in order to enter a place of business. Why won’t people wear masks even when there’s evidence of their importance? To put it simply, anti-maskers are exactly what they call those who do wear masks: sheep. And very, very irresponsible and selfish sheep, to put it kindly.

Anti-maskers fall victim to false information, fake articles, and refuse to listen to legitimate medical evidence. They go into stores without masks whenever they can, risking personal exposure to COVID-19 and also the possibility of spreading it to others. And they take absolute pride in these acts.

Essential workers have to deal with these people on a daily basis. Nurses are screamed at, food service workers are threatened, and business owners wonder if they should even say anything at all.

I’ve personally noticed many stores that are doing a wonderful job mandating face masks. Marshalls, for example, has an employee by the door with free masks and if you’re not wearing one, you’re not shopping there. Other stores, like our local Walmart, allow guests to enter without masks and don’t reprimand those who take them off once inside.

I work at a local grocery store and I am constantly helping customers who either aren’t wearing masks or pull them down to speak to me. But, according to my store’s policy, I’m not allowed to say anything because it may cause conflict.

In other words, “don’t tell that lady to put on a mask, or else we might lose her business!” Stores that have policies like this are only putting their employees at risk. These are the same employees that aren’t getting hazard pay even though they’re dealing with much more risk in these uncertain times.

If you choose not to wear a mask, you’re risking your life and possibly the lives of those around you. Essential workers aren’t getting paid anywhere near enough to deal with you, so at least follow the rules that are in place.