retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports that Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), convinced that the food industry needs guidelines that will bring precision and uniformity to how it protects customers and employees during the pandemic, is calling on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)(n and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “issue and promote clear guidance for workers in the retail food industry and their customers.”

The story notes that there is a disconnect between what employees say they want and what various retailers are providing.  Many workers, even as they are getting bonuses and temporary raises to compensate for working under difficult, even treacherous conditions, say they need safer conditions;  retailers, meanwhile, have "adopted new procedures (checking employees’ temperatures, maintaining six feet of space in checkout lines) and/or modified their physical properties by installing plexiglass barriers between consumer and worker."

But the lack of consistency strikes Markey as problematic.  "I think that at a minimum, [agencies] should provide better guidance on the types of PPE to use and when,” Markey tells the Post.  "I think they should leave it less up to employers so that workers are better protected, and I think they should actually take steps to make sure companies are complying with the guidance. But at a minimum, there should be some kind of PPE that is provided to protect the workers."

KC's View:

If rules are required, let's have rules.  Recommendations only go so far.