Return to Work or Not in the Time of COVID-19?
Many Folks Have No Choice
Last updated 5/22/2020 at 11:38am
He lost his job due to COVID-19 and has a healthy and strong fear of the virus infecting him, his wife and their children. He and his family are following all the safety precautions: staying inside, washing their hands, using masks and social distancing when they must go outside and running errands for their elderly parents to reduce their exposure. In spite of all these precautions and his awareness of COVID-19’s devastating potential, when asked if he would return to work tomorrow if offered his job back, he responds emphatically, “Yes.”
“Food for my children, the rent, utilities, money to help my family make it through the summer,” are the reasons he gives for his willingness to return to a workplace where he might well be exposed to the virus. This visceral drive to provide, to support, to feed and to create a home for his family makes his choice a quick and certain one.
When one lives from paycheck-to-paycheck with no safety-net savings, priorities shift. For these, our most vulnerable population with low-income, inconsistent health care and a history of health related issues, the decision to return to work is really no decision at all. Life circumstances decide for them.
For those of us with comfortable pensions, profitable investments and solid savings, we have no fear of having to make this decision to work or not. We live in a world unknown to the majority of our Borrego Springs families. It behooves us to know this and to empathize with the decisions our locals must make in order to survive in these times while at the same time providing us with services we have come to expect.
When our State Park and our village do begin to open up to the public, these folks will be the first ones rehired to work alongside those brave folks who have already been providing us with essential services. Please protect them with your adherence to all safety rules provided by COVID-19 guidelines. They deserve it and they need it. It’s all about families, our most cherished commodity, whether our own or someone else’s.