The message from government cannot be any clearer than “STAY AT HOME!” This is part of the plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic – stay at home, flatten the curve, save lives. Some workers express both fear and anger at being labeled as an “Essential Employee” and being forced to go into a workplace where they come into close daily contact with people despite knowing their work can wait.
Much of this has been blamed on inconsistent messaging from government around which businesses are allowed to stay open including other public sector services such as the courts. Employers may also be accused of being negligent in their duty of care to workers.
An Assistant District Attorney describes anxiety among court staff who are being told to enter the court daily so trials and hearings can continue. Even though civil litigation has been suspended, criminal and urgent proceedings continue. Certain support staff and attorneys must be present while remaining mindful of social distancing. These staff members may be interacting is close proximity with those with undiagnosed Coronavirus and this can place themselves and their family at risk of contracting the illness. These staff members are worried about going to court for things that aren’t urgent because they are designated as key workers. A lot of what is being done is difficult to do from home while other things could potentially wait or be sorted out over the telephone.
We recently spoke to a manager for a large home improvement store who was very angry that he was forced to come to work. He has a partner at home who has many of the symptoms of Coronavirus, but was told that unless he had been tested and confirmed as having coronavirus, he had to come to work.
While bars, restaurants and many retail stores have been forced to close there is much ambiguity over some other retail sectors. Businesses such as hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons, which all entail close contact with customers in breach of the six feet social distancing rule for some reason appear to be allowed to stay open.
As a result of the rapid spread of the disease the death toll from Coronavirus has reached 400 and the total number either diagnosed or suspected of having Coronavirus went beyond 33,000 nationwide. California Governor Newsom has issued a Stay At Home order statewide and we encourage everyone to comply with this order so we can win this war and resume life as we know it.
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