Service workers now have another ungrateful job: Checking vaccine conditions

As the delta variant prolongs the Covid -19 pandemic, three major U.S. cities – San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City – are beginning to introduce vaccine requirements for anyone visiting the interior. public spaces such as restaurants, cinemas, and gyms. And other localities may also follow soon: Honolulu’s will create a vaccine passport system this month (patrons can also submit a recent negative Covid-19 test), while the Los Angeles City Council thinking of a similar program. But this new confirmation of vaccination rules is already creating new problems for areas and workers, many of whom are left to themselves to figure out how to implement the requirements and how to respond if the angry customers insist.

It all fits in with a much larger pattern of how the United States handles the pandemic. The U.S. launch of various vaccination and mask requirements has been patched up. The White House has said it will not establish a national vaccine passport system, meaning that states, cities, and even private companies are making their own versions of vaccine vaccine applications (while some states, such as Florida, ban all vaccine passports). This checkered approach means even more the widely available vaccine record apps, the only standard way in the U.S. to verify your immunization status the thin and perishable paper card using CDC insignia that does not fit in the average person’s wallet.

“A guy came here and told the bartender,‘ I want to see your hepatitis vaccine and your AIDS, ’” said Candace Hutchinson, a manager at Beachcorner Bar and Grill in New Orleans who regularly greets fans. customer, Recode was told. The business collapsed at least a quarter from the start of the New Orleans internal order that began to take effect. August 16, another Beachcorner manager Gina Perrett, spoke to Recode, and some customers rebelled. A customer is now throwing a drink in the employee’s face about the new rules.

One effect of these vaccine rules is that they seem to provoke some people to get the vaccine. Last month, 99 in attendance in a game the New Orleans Saints were vaccinated in the area so they could enter the arena. In some regions of Italy, vaccination rate increased to 200 percent after the country launched the national Green Pass system, which requires people to show evidence of vaccination to enter indoor areas such as restaurants and museums, using digital or paper versions of their vaccine record. And France, which is now beginning requires proof of vaccination for indoor and outdoor dining, domestic flights, and other indoor activities, seen a similar increase in vaccinations.

But another effect of the new requirements is that they push for the responsibility of enforcing public health regulations on service workers, who throughout the pandemic will have to deal with abuse from some. customer to check the temperature, wear a mask, and socialize. In fact, 80 percent of service workers survey of the One Fair Wage group last fall, which advocated against the minimum wage for workers ’tips, said they saw or experienced outrage, including racism and sexual harassment, from customers while enforcing the rules of public health during a pandemic. That’s why some big retail chains that operate in areas that don’t have a vaccine mandate are prevention need proof of vaccination for customers, according to a CNN report: They don’t have the infrastructure to check IDs and fear that enforcing such a requirement could lead to problems for workers.

That left service staff with two poor options, said One Fair Wage co-founder and president Saru Jayaraman of Recode. They may enforce the rules and risk harassment and missing tips, or they may neglect unsafe customer behavior and risk their own health.

Some New York venues told Recode that despite some opposition, most customers were happy to show their vaccination passes. But it’s not just customers who need to worry about workers. After Jen Agg, owner of Bar Vendetta in Toronto, called for vaccine requirements for indoor dining, her restaurant was flooded with passport-anti-vaccine protesters who, recently spoke on a radio station, “Chased my staff and shouted at me, shouting in my face that we were Nazis.”

At the same time, restaurant hosts and greeters do not have to be willing to check vaccination documents or identification cards (e.g., New York City. NEEDS that the inside areas are verified that the state IDs of the customers are the same as the name on their vaccination document). Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, told Recode that most of the 40 restaurant operators she spoke to personally said they had confusion or problems enforcing the new rules. vaccine for customers.

Cities like New York and New Orleans say they provide sources of restaurants and other venues intended to facilitate the implementation of vaccine passport systems, including grace periods before it starts. the implementation and a training video on conflict resolution, but measures like this seem somewhat limited. For example, Louisiana and New York State have released vaccine -free apps that create QR -based vaccine records, an alternative to CDC cards. While QR codes are meant to be scanned for verification, many establishments tell Recode that currently they only look at QR codes on people’s phones and they don’t scan them in a separate verification app.

“Who can I tell if [a vaccine card is] true or not? ”Asks Regina Delfino, who runs an Italian restaurant, Mario, in the Bronx. “Who am I to say you’re not Santa Claus?” He said he will be the one to review people’s vaccine documentation at the door when New York City begins enforcing its rules by the end of the month. the other restaurant staff didn’t want to ask. Even if his staff doesn’t have to check on the vaccination status of customers, it’s already hard to get people, he added.

And that shows a problem that might arise: Some service workers may be reluctant enforce these new rules and deal with possible customer resentment. Their employers also need to think of solutions on their own. As in Anna North’s Vox reports this spring, many restaurants across the U.S. are having a hard time hiring a sufficient number of workers to meet returning customers. The reasons for this are varied – higher than usual unemployment wages give workers more power to decide where and when they will work; in addition, often low wages and dangerous conditions in restaurants have hampered workers. Some areas of the city with new vaccine orders told Recode that they should ask existing employees to work more shifts, or even hire bouncers, to help diagnose the vaccine document.

“We have the worst staff crisis in the history of the U.S. restaurant industry,” Jayaraman of One Fair Wage told Recode. “The idea of ​​increasing requirements without raising wages is a disaster waiting to happen.” Advocates for restaurant workers said part of the solution included wage increases and end tip minimum wage, which allowed restaurants to pay workers to bring home tips for a wage of less than $ 2.13 an hour.

Meanwhile, many restaurant workers are still in double bind. Make sure customers are vaccinated standing up to make their jobs safer, but enforcing these rules on their own complicates their already difficult work. They say the challenge could get worse as the weather gets colder and outdoor dining becomes less feasible.

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