Returning to Work During the Pandemic

I have returned to my job.

For 6 hours every day I must wear a face covering there. I can only take it off when I’m eating lunch at my temporary desk in a room by myself.

Coworkers maintain 6 feet of distance between each other. Everyone must wear a face covering.

My covering of choice is a big bandanna. I wear a different-color bandanna each day. At the end of the week I wash them in the machine.

This is because I’m not keen to clog a landfill with single-use disposable masks.

Your employer must adhere to safety protocols if they expect you to return to work.

You have every right to expect that these measures will be in effect.

Even though it’s hard to breathe I wear the bandanna 6 hours a day. I look like a gunslinger in the Old Wild West. I coordinate the color of the bandanna with the clothes I’m wearing.

The coronavirus is out to infect whoever it can. The outbreak is on the rise in some states in the U.S. We are not out of the woods. We’re in the thick of this forest.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a real health threat.

I have not been infected. I plan to keep it that way. By staying indoors through early June and wearing a face covering / bandanna I have remained illness-free.

Wearing a face covering is a sign of respect for other people. The message is: “I respect you and you respect me.”

The world has changed. We are all of us more connected than ever. It’s time to protect and respect each other.

When you go back to work wear a face covering. Maintain 6 feet of distance between you and your coworkers. Each lunch away from other people.

Expect that your employer will follow safety protocols. You can band together with your coworkers to file a grievance should the company you work for be jeopardizing your health.

Again: the coronavirus will try to infect everyone. Take the precautions and be diligent in adhering to them.

Listen to or watch or read the latest medical information from a reputable media source.

Life has changed so quickly in such a short time. Six months have gone by. The year is halfway over.

It can seem like the COVID-19 outbreak is here to stay forever. No–it will end. Not soon. Yet it will end.

Be patient. Wear a face covering. There’s a silver lining in this cloud and I’ll talk about this next.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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