During this pandemic, essential workers are some of the lowest paid, but hardest working members of society. Doctors, nurses, food service/retail workers, and delivery/warehouse personnel are the people that have kept the world turning. As a food service worker myself, I have experienced first hand the struggles that come with working during a pandemic (there are a lot). Here are a few things you can do as a customer to make an essential worker's life a little less stressful.
1. Above All, Stay Home
There is no risk of transmission if you simply stay home. Businesses are open, of course, but the less customers filling up an establishment, the safer everyone inside can be. Making unnecessary trips only increases the danger you put yourself and others in, so keep unnecessary outings to a minimum. The more foot traffic businesses have, the higher the exposure rate!
2. Pull Your Mask Up… All the Way Up
Most businesses have enforced a mandatory mask rule, and it's important you wear PPE correctly. Putting on a mask once you have already entered a store isn't safe, and neither is wearing your mask below the nose. This behavior not only increases your risk of transmission, but it forces employees to police customers while we're trying to do our job.
3. Order Curbside Delivery When Possible
Takeout or curbside ordering has been put in place at many businesses to keep the store as close to empty as possible. When more customers place orders to be delivered to their car outside, the exposure rate of both employees and customers decreases. More customers utilizing curbside means surfaces inside are cleaner, and everyone is safer. If we have given you a safer option, why not take it?
4. Be Patient
As essential workers, we are showing up to serve/assist you during a pandemic—that alone is extremely stressful. While trying to assist you, we wear PPE for several hours per day and constantly sanitize for the safety of customers, which doesn't make our jobs any easier. Please be patient with us, and understand that we are doing our best to safely serve you.
5. Say Thank You
We risk our health every day while we work, so it is always appreciated to hear a sincere thank you or words of encouragement. Hearing customers thank me for helping them, or thank me for taking safety measures means a lot. The majority of essential workers earn minimum wage, so leave a tip if you are able to. It really goes a long way to show your appreciation.