A Call to PetSmart in Regards to Their Irresponsible and Dismal COVID-19 Response

A Call to PetSmart in Regards to Their Irresponsible and Dismal COVID-19 Response

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Concerned Employee started this petition to PetSmart

~Updated 4/03/2020 due to the salon reopening on Monday 4/06 across most PetSmarts

A Plan for Worker Safety and Fair Treatment:

*Core should be getting hazard pay

*Salons should remain closed and Groomers should be furloughed

*Stores should be curbside only

And if not...

*No disinfectant means store closure

*Strict social distancing must be adhered

*Pet parents must be limited in store

*All animal sales/adoptions should be halted

**Core should be getting hazard pay**

Anyone working during this pandemic is putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk. The elderly and those with health issues are most at risk, but a significant number of people in their 20s-40s are being put on ventalators to be kept alive[[1]](https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/young-people-are-not-immune-coronavirus/608794/ This virus does not discriminate on those it infects, and if selling dog food is so essential to society, then the ones risking everything they love need to be paid for that risk.

**Salons should remain closed and Groomers should be furloughed**

The salons are closed ~~and probably will be for a long time.~~ [EDIT: but are reopening in most states on Monday April 6th. This is an incredibly dangerous and shortsighted move. So much of our customer based are older and at risk. And staying 6 feet away from our coworkers puts all salon employees at risk for dogs that turn aggressive, or that are simply too heavy to be safely handled in a medical emergency. There's a reason why the Two Salon Staff at All Times rule exists. We can't pretend it doesn't in order to convince ourselves that we can protect each other from the coronavirus. Not to mention, how are pet parents going to safely hand off their dogs to a groomer from 6 feet away?]

States with stay-at-home orders are becoming more common, with salons in general being shut down as non-essential. This is unlikely to change, potentially for months[[2]](https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/stay-at-home-maryland-virginia-dc/2020/03/30/167cba86-72a0-11ea-85cb-8670579b863d_story.html During that time, most, if not all, groomers will run out of PTO and be forced to work [EDIT: in unsafe working conditions or] without making commissioned pay. For many, this is a huge loss in income and is not sustainable for our families. We have based our rent, our mortgages, and all our other bills on our commissioned pay. We could face eviction or foreclosure in the time that it takes for the government to reopen salons and other nonessential businesses. And thus, our ~~best~~ [EDIT: safest and most financially sound] bet is to be furloughed and collect unemployment.

The recent law passed by congress not only extends the duration of time you can collect benefits, but it also increases the benefits by $600. This sounds like a lot, but most state unemployment benefits are very low, and the extra money from the federal government will simply put us closer to our commissioned pay than working the floor for our base pay ever could. Furloughed employees return to their jobs when the salons are reopened, and we keep our health insurance in the meanwhile. It is the only way we can sustain the salon closure for the months ahead.

**Stores should be curbside only**

The best way to contain the spread of the coronavirus is to limit social contact as much as possible. Curbside only sales would prevent pet parents from shopping with children, from browsing unnecessarily, and from coming in contact with the vast majority of employees. It would also cut down the usage of hand sanitizer, soap, and disenfectant, and eliminate cash transactions. Labor shortages would also be less likely, as fewer sick employees means fewer call outs. This is the best way to ensure a minimum of employee exposure to the coronavirus while we are deemed essential.

And if not curbside only then...

**No disinfectant means store closure**

Proper disinfecting needs to take place in every store. Hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectant must be available to all employees at all times. If those supplies run out, the store should not be open. It takes up to two weeks for symptoms to show, during which time the infected can be contagious[[3]](https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/health/coronavirus-asymptomatic-transmission.html and the only tools we have to prevent the spread are social distancing and sanitation. If we don't have those tools, we should not be putting our lives at risk.

**Strict social distancing must be adhered**

Pet parents and associates must stay 6 feet apart from each other at all times. Associates must be empowered to tell pet parents that they must keep their distance or be asked to leave the store. Our lives and our family's lives are at stake. No one should be afraid of a write up for telling a pet parent or coworker to step away. Every register should be fitted with a plastic guard, and no two registers should be open side-by-side. If plastic guards are unavailable, cashiers need to be empowered to tell pet parents to step away while their items are being scanned. Cash needs to be banned, all transactions should be done on the pin pad.

**Pet parents must be limited in store**

One shopping cart, one person. No more families coming into the store to gawk at the fish. The number of customers allowed into the store should also be limited, based on the size of the location, in order for pet parents and employees to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. This means strict headcounts. Overcrowding leads to exposure leads to infections.

**All animal sales/adoptions should be halted**

There is no reason anyone needs a hamster during a global pandemic.

~Credit to Reddit u/RainbowTressym for writing this all up https://www.reddit.com/r/petsmart/comments/fsu88j/a_plan_for_worker_safety_and_fair_treatment/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

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