In less than two weeks, it will be business as usual for companies across Jamaica. The stay at home order would have expired and employees required to work from office. However, for a number of Jamaicans deemed as essential workers, working through the Covid-19 pandemic is no easy task.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, there has been much discussion surrounding who is an essential worker and who is not. Many employees from various sectors were allowed to work from their homes in Jamaica, but there were certain professions where that option was not a possibility. Those who work in sanitation and waste management, the service industry and as security personnel had to still show up for work despite the threat of a deadly virus, which had already infected hundreds.
For waste collectors- many who start work in the early mornings- had to take extra precaution in ensuring the virus wasn’t passed through waste collected from homes and businesses, and taken home to their families.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced new curfew hours leading up to the end of the month. Many businesses had more time to engage customers but once closed security officers had to be present for monitoring and surveillance purposes, even with the threat of Covid-19 as real as the threat of an attempted robbery.
“Most of us out here working day and night come in contact with a lot of persons and you don’t know who might have the virus,” Cruze Barnett, a Security Guard, told our newsteam. “Being an unarmed guard and being out here is very risky. Your life is on the line. You have to hope the police passing most of the times.”
In the coming weeks, companies all over have to adjust to a new normal. Those who were not deemed as essential workers will now be required to return to work. Masks must be worn and proper hygiene practices followed.