Protecting the Pandemic Essential Worker   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "In March 2020, states and cities tried to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. Once the economic consequences of a total shutdown of the economy became clear, however, the federal government and states declared that certain business sectors or industries were critical. These critical businesses and industries were required (or at least allowed) to remain open. Unfortunately, when businesses told the people we now call 'essential workers' to keep working, no one told businesses what they needed to do to protect those workers. Things initially looked promising for essential workers--at least for some of them. People stood on balconies and lined streets during 'clappy hours' to herald and valorize higher income doctors and nurses as they went to and from work. For a brief period, it even seemed that the lower wage employees who scrubbed hospital floors, drove patients to or admitted them to hospitals, stocked shelves in Amazon warehouses, processed meat in factories, picked vegetables on farms, and drove city buses might also be valorized. Essential workers were called heroes and some retail workers even received tips from grateful customers during the early weeks of the pandemic. Later on, many of these low wage, face-to-face (F2F) workers were harassed, assaulted, and even murdered by customers who became enraged when they tried to enforce mask or social distancing requirements put in place to keep customers and workers safe."

2022 Mechele Dickerson
Retrieved From:
Duke Law Scholarship Repository: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/
Media Type:
Law and Contemporary Problems (2022), v.85 no.2, p.177-199
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