The required workforce


Yaasmyn Rodriguez, Staff writer

With restaurants and other local businesses closing, work has begun to slow down for a lot of their employees. While inside dining restaurants and theaters along with other entertainment buildings have been closed there are certain jobs that can’t be shut down. Jobs such as: executive governance (the mayor, or his/her designee, who is in charge and has the authority to make executive decisions and enact policies), healthcare, fire and police protection, provision of clean water, basic sanitation (including sewage and garbage removal), maintenance of communication infrastructure (e.g., telephone system, radio, internet), maintenance of utilities (e.g., gas and electricity), provision of food and other essential goods, transportation, road maintenance/repair, banking, payroll departments and tax collection.

The people who conduct these jobs cannot close down because they are essential in helping the community maintain basic life needs. Doctors and police officers are still needed to do their jobs, while someone working at a library is not as necessary. Jobs varying from barbershops to retail stores are considered non-essentials and these will be the first stores to be closed. 

So, what does this mean for the workers? Some bigger chain stores, such as Macy’s and JCPenney, have taken an action called “furloughing”. This means the workers will not be coming in for work and are not getting paid, which is similar to being laid off. Though the big difference is that after things clear up, the workers who were furloughed can come back to work. 

This has become a concerning problem for many people all over, and there is no simple solution. Some workers can choose to use paid time off, though they still won’t be getting paid during this time they are let off.  Others have no other options besides having to deal with this unpaid time off, leaving a lot of people in a difficult situation.

Turning back to the situation of essential workers, while they are getting paid, some workers are allowed to take voluntary leave. Leaving them to decide if they want to stay home. Of course, this can’t be said for all essential jobs, only a few that don’t require as many workers on hand.

The pandemic of COVID-19 has become a problem affecting the daily lives of workers, possibly putting there lives on the line but with proper precautions, we can naturally presume the workers will be working in safe conditions to help us maintain our basic needs in lives.