Protect Restaurant Workers From COVID

Protect Restaurant Workers From COVID

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K M started this petition to United States Department of Health and Human Services and

We’ve heard it time after time: your mask protects me, my mask protects you. We also know COVID may be spread by people who don’t have symptoms. Yet, restaurant workers are forced to work in what OSHA calls “Medium Exposure Risk” environments where orders are taken and unmasked guests are served in a distance of less than six feet. And, many guests refuse to wear a mask at all. Less masks equals more lingering airborne droplets spreading COVID, which can be contracted via the eyes

OSHA “guidelines” allow employers to determine what combination of PPE, including face shield/goggles, is suitable for their “Medium Exposure Risk” workplace. So, employers are solely deciding what PPE is appropriate despite a lack of expertise and profit > people conflict of interest. OSHA must issue specific requirements! 

A picture is worth a thousand words? The picture used for this petition was borrowed from the CDC’s website under the caption “Deciding to Go Out.” Based on the picture of a restaurant worker with a face mask and shield, you’d think the CDC recognized what constitutes appropriate PPE. However, the CDC has issued no regulations!

There have been numerous accounts of restaurant workers sick with COVID, guests with COVID illnesses contact-traced back to restaurants and workers getting fired for reporting those instances. My partner was fired July 3 for requiring a proper face mask and shield to return to work. His employer claimed that an ADA claim/medical records release would be required for anything other than a basic face mask and gloves. Interestingly, the governor of Pennsylvania mandated masks for anyone who leaves their home but ignores the contradiction that is restaurants and provides a no-proof-required health exception to the mandate. So, there is a law protecting restaurant guests who do not wish to wear a mask but workers who require sufficient PPE are not protected from retaliation. The government is not protecting people; It is protecting capital!

Some cities and states have adopted anti-retaliation legislation that prevent employers from retaliating against workers in the era of COVID. But, even in those localities, employers are permitted to put the burden of procuring, and knowing what constitutes, appropriate PPE on workers. That needs to change!

COVID cases are being contact-traced back to restaurants. Protecting restaurant workers is, therefore, a matter of public safety and cannot be left to the whims of employers. As COVID cases continue to increase and workers are forced to chose between jeopardizing their life by going to work or losing any sustenance, I hope you will sign this petition to garner support for anti-retaliation legislation and CDC/OSHA PPE regulations. 

Thank you for signing! 

*This is the people’s petition. I recognized the need to organize and I’m trying to contribute to that end. If you have suggestions or concerns, please communicate via @kativist or by leaving a message with your signature. We are stronger together.

**Before it was corrected, you may have noticed Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) as a recipient of our demands. IWW was included in the recipient section as an organization “with the power to solve [our] problem...” While the union has the power, it represents members. I encourage those of you who can afford the membership fee (starting at $6/month) to join or organize your local IWW. Even if you cannot afford to join, check out the site as it offers COVID resources. (I am not a representative of IWW. Direct any IWW specific questions to that organization.)

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!