Interacting with people nearby day in and day out was frightening for many frontline workers during the pandemic. At least with the obligatory masks, they had a layer of protection. Since masks are no longer mandatory, do these employees still feel safe to go to work?
Most companies allow employees and customers to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a mask if they are fully immunized. However, employees are not allowed to confirm whether these customers are or not.
While employees can no longer easily enforce mask policies, they can protect themselves and the public by tracking sanitation, using plexiglass barriers, and getting vaccinated.
“It’s been interesting, but we’re trying,” said Kathy, a Safeway employee. “We are always here to try to make it comfortable and safe for everyone. “
It’s no secret that restaurants have been hit hard during the pandemic. Many restaurants continue to only allow take-out and limited dining options. Laughing Planet on 2nd St. still only allows take-out options, but it has given its employees the freedom to choose whether or not to wear masks.
“Most of us still wear them. We are almost as before. We always take our distance and have hand sanitizing stations in place, ”said Elyse, employee of Laughing Planet.
Local restaurants find it easier to decide their policies without a head office to answer for. After the mask mandate was lifted, the Bo and Vine Burger Bar businesses reopened at full capacity and almost resumed operations as usual.
“A lot of problems have been avoided now that the masks are no longer needed. No one fights us over politics anymore, ”said Eva Fiffert, hostess of Bo and Vine. “I’m also fully vaccinated so I don’t care that much now. ”
Salons go through the same difficult decision-making process. For Adore Salon, owner Alexis Wright decided to send a survey to the salon’s 3,500 customers asking if they preferred masks or not. The choice to go without a mask won by a landslide. Wright also allowed his stylists to make the decision for themselves. With the majority of stylists vaccinated, only a few in the salon are still masked.
“The general morale of the show has increased since masks no longer became a requirement. Everyone seems to be more comfortable without it, ”said Wright.
Adore Salon still maintains certain Covid procedures in place to protect its staff and customers. They will continue to ask screening questions, outrun stylist positions and ask people to wash their hands regularly.
With the majority of people vaccinated in Benton County, workers are more comfortable doing their jobs and resuming their activities. It is always crucial to keep your distance, wash your hands and be respectful of others not only to protect yourself, but also for the workers who have continued to show up to the public every day.
By Kayla Mosley