In the past few days, I have received emails from hotel chains, supermarkets, convenience stores, travel brands, and a storage locker company explaining how they’re protecting my health from the Covid-19 outbreak. Almost all of them are stamped from the same template:
- We are sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces more often
- If you have reservations, we are giving you flexibility to change them, even if we don’t usually let you cancel without penalty
- We’re following applicable recommendations from WHO and the CDC
Only one, 7-Eleven, has mentioned a critical one: asking sick people to not come in, and saying that they’re directing any employee to stay home if feeling ill. That last is obviously key, though. Here’s the thing: they don’t mention “And we’re giving them sick pay.”
People who work in restaurants and convenience stores are often part-timers with no benefits, and in particular no paid sick days. Telling a person who needs her pay from the night shift to feed her kids, “Just stay home if you run a fever,” is like saying “Just let your family starve if you run a fever.” They won’t and they can’t.
So: how seriously do you really take this outbreak? Are you ready to pay your staff to stay home when sick? Because if not … then people will inevitably die.