Image collage is the author’s. Used with permission of those pictured who contributed photos

Dear Uncaring Business Establishment, This is My Official Break-Up Letter

Are you helping prevent COVID-19 spread? If you’re not, I’m done with you.

An Open Letter to Business Owners,

I’ve been your loyal customer for years. Until now, it’s been a good relationship. But I’m furious. My loyalty has reached its limit. I understand businesses are struggling. I choose to spend my money to help you, as well as receive your services or products. This pandemic has created difficult and unprecedented times. We all must be there for each other. Now, I ask, “What you are doing to help me?”

I’m totally over spending my income in any business that refuses to do the appropriate actions during this pandemic. Are you helping prevent COVID-19 spread? If you’re not, I’m done with you.

Dear Uncaring Business Establishment, this is my official break-up letter.

Yesterday, I stepped into a small retail business, and found none of the workers were wearing masks, social distancing was not observed, and customers were packed in tightly. It was as if a raging pandemic wasn’t impacting our world. When I pointed that out to the owner, he argued with me. “We aren’t required to wear masks!” Given my State’s reopening criteria, he’s right. Masks are advised by every public health official, but not mandatory in my State.

But, likewise, I’m not required to patronize that business.

If you’re that kind of business owner, you risk us all by these actions.

I wear my mask to protect others. I wear it to protect YOU and your workers. I wear it to protect your family. But many businesses do nothing to protect me or my family. This relationship cannot be one-sided.

And I reiterate, if you’re that sort of self-absorbed business I won’t be your customer. You’d gladly take my money. But you do nothing for me.This ends today.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the establishment I visited yesterday, but a vast number of businesses across the nation who have failed their community. We see some of those poor choices reflected in soaring new cases and healthcare surges in at least seven states today. Florida and Texas, in particular, are swelling to capacity with new hospitalizations.

Certainly, the public has a responsibility in this.

But in part, this is caused by bars and restaurants packed full to capacity without social distancing. According to a new JPMorgan study, surges in restaurant spending appears to predict an increase in coronavirus cases weeks later. Adding to community spread are retail businesses that are lacking the right and protective actions. In many businesses, employees aren’t trained on monitoring symptoms or allowed to stay home if ill.

If you, the business owner, can enforce a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy or refuse to allow smoking on the premises, I’m certain you can enforce pressing public health matters to save lives.

It is not just what we see, it’s what else may be occurring behind the scenes that’s even more unsettling.

In those same devil-may-care businesses, I’d doubt they abide by the CDC guidelines (which almost all local and state health departments are following). Those guidelines include sending a sick worker home until his or her test results are returned. If those results are positive, that worker must stay home 10 days from the onset of symptoms, plus 3 more days, in which the individual is symptom-free.

And CDC guidelines, also include sending home any coworkers who had close contact (usually defined as 6 feet of contact for 15 minutes or more) with the positive-tested sick worker and waiting for their test results. If negative, they can come back to work. If positive, they must self-isolate the same 10 days + 3. (Or have 2 negative tests, each 24 hours apart, to be released to go back to work.)

Business owner, if you aren’t following something as simple as abiding by social distancing or requiring employees to wear a cloth mask in your air conditioned and comfortable establishments, (which aren’t hot, or difficult environments to wear a mask) — I doubt you’d follow through on the other areas.

Do you, the business owner, know the current guidelines to follow to ensure you’re protecting your workers and customers? Have you talked to your local health department to see if you’re using the right criteria?

Do you even care?

You see hundreds of patrons a week. At the register, nearly all of your workers are within six feet of your loyal customers. You can be a significant source of community transmission. Surely, you’re aware of that.

Only this week, I learned of a fast food restaurant in my community who had a positive-tested worker, but that business didn’t allow coworkers to remain home until their test results were returned. That’s not uncommon. Due to my career, which overlaps with workplace safety, I talk to my local and state health authorities on a regular basis and I know from their experiences this happens with appalling frequency. Many even go a step worse, and allow sick workers to remain on the job until test results come back. Some don’t allow the COVID-19 positive worker to remain home the full number of recommended self-isolation days.

I’m livid. Angry at waste. And the waste of human life is the most serious waste. It is not just the old that are sick and dying of this. But, that said, protecting our most fragile is the duty of a reasonable civilization. It should be enough to make changes in your business to protect those people. But we now know that pregnant women, young adults, and some six percent of those gravely ill do not have any preexisting conditions. This virus is an equal opportunity killer.

And for many who aren’t fatally impacted, the recovery is long, and painful and expensive.

I spend my money in your establishment, and the source of that income stems directly from my health and ability to work. If I’m not healthy, I cannot continue to be a customer. From a financial standpoint, that impact of your actions on customers is crystal clear. That alone should make sense to you, if prevailing upon your (limited) integrity isn’t enough.

Going forward, to the degree that you protect me, my family, and the community, is the degree that I will be your customer.

And to the businesses that are doing the correct things, I will swipe left until I find you. I will spend my money on you. I will be eternally grateful, and I will patronize you, tell my friends to use your services and refer others to you. I cannot express how much I appreciate your concern for the community, for me and for my loved ones. Thank you for serving us. Virtual hugs, from a social distance, to you. I’ll be committed to your establishment, and desperately infatuated with you.

In fact, pictured in this article (at the top) are workers who are carefully following safety procedures. Those photos represent healthcare workers, salon technicians, therapists, personal trainers, college students, social workers, food service workers, and retail employees. Those workers were glad to have protections in place for themselves and the public. It is possible to be open for business and follow preventative guidelines.

I don’t believe this is just my perspective. The American people want you, the business owner, to protect us. Recently, AMC Entertainment reversed its mask policy, now requiring masks for all patrons. Social media widely supported the new requirements. Other businesses have found favorable guest experiences by adhering to public health practices.

You can be open and be safe.

But, not a damn dime to the businesses who are uncaring, callous — and frankly, selfish. Not now. Not in the future. If our miserable Federal government, nor the States and local governments aren’t stepping up to protect the populations they serve by enforcing public health as a priority, then it’s up to us, as citizens, to apply the force to make changes.

I’m totally over businesses that don’t give a damn. They are the worst of bad boyfriends, like dating serial killers or self-absorbed sociopaths.

Enough is enough. Our customer/business relationship must part now. I deserve better than you.

Sincerely,

Your Ex

Writings of a solivagant, gypsy soul, foodie, and pirate hopeful. Unconventional mother. Sometimes profane. Occasionally profound.

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