If you are seeking to understand how fundamentally our world is changing because of this coronavirus pandemic, you need look no further than the changing relationship of people to their jobs.

Some people — health care workers, first responders, paramedics — are acting with extreme bravery under the most trying circumstances. Many people — grocery store employees, transit workers, others at essential businesses — are pushing forward despite the risks, hoping for the best from social distancing.

Many others are desperate to return to work as the bills pile up.

And some people are too afraid to return to work, even when their employer has received a loan to pay their salaries.

That is a stark reminder that fear is going to be a big part of our national consciousness for a long time, throughout this year and perhaps well into the future.

The refusal of some people to return to their old jobs is a harbinger of more changes in behavior that will be driven by terror of being infected by COVID-19 or bringing the disease into their homes.

Several local business owners told News-Post reporter Erika Riley that some workers who are collecting unemployment have declined to return to work.

Ken Tucker, owner of Tucker Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing, said that some of his employees left on their own accord because they didn’t feel safe. He said he understands that working in people’s homes can be nerve-wracking, especially for those who have immunocompromised family members.

Rick Weldon, chief executive officer of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, explained that Maryland is allowing people who left work because they do not feel safe to file for unemployment.

“And that was never true before, it’s only been true because of COVID-19,” Weldon said.

The fact is that going back to work for most people will mean returning to face-to-face interactions, either with fellow employees or with customers. And a lot of people have concerns about that scenario.

Jennifer Rubin, an opinion writer for the Washington Post, commented a few days ago on the changes we are seeing:

“When I wrote more than a month ago that COVID-19 would fundamentally change virtually all aspects of our lives from sports to politics to schooling, I worried that perhaps I was overstating the prospect of such sweeping transformation. If anything, I now realize that I underestimated the duration — and potentially the permanence — of many changes.”

The workplace, where most people spend the majority of their waking hours, will undoubtedly be among the social institutions that will be most altered.

Working from home has been a solution for many people, and that is likely to continue for a long time, perhaps even after the pandemic wanes. But a lot of jobs just cannot be completed except at the work site. Those folks will need to decide at some point whether or not to return.

Social distancing in the office or factory or retail store can offer some reassurance. But if you or someone in your family have an underlying illness, it might not be a risk you will feel comfortable taking.

We all hope for the discovery of a safe and effective vaccine. But even if one is developed in the 12 to 18 months usually cited by health experts, the United States and the rest of the world would then need to undertake the largest mass immunization program since polio in the 1950s. It will take a long time to get the vaccine to the hundreds of millions of people who will need to take it.

We are just beginning to understand and comprehend the changes that are coming to our world because of this virus. Even when the lockdowns end, for many people the psychological restrictions will remain for a long, long time.

(25) comments

francesca_easa

I have mixed feelings about this. First, children should be able to go back to school since they have minimal risk of getting the virus. I don't think it is fair to expect the Walmart, Grocery Store, Delivery Services, Military and Medical workers to continue to work while taking precautions and the rest of us get a pass. How many people have contracted the virus from shopping at Lowes or Aldi? How many customers are actually in a mom and pop shop in downtown Frederick at any given time? Then there are other places that need to continue to be under the strictest rules, such as airlines and cruise companies, hospitals, senior care centers, and assisted living centers. It should be a while before large gatherings are allowed. Perhaps folks will have to pay to watch baseball and football on TV for a while instead of going to the actual event. I also anticipate that lawyers are going to have to draft up waivers so that anyone who gets sick from work, social gathering or school, will agree that they cannot hold the employer, event organizers or schools responsible. And in the future, if there is a pandemic brewing in one region of the world, or a hot spot in certain areas of the country (like NYC), the federal and state governments have every right to refuse travellers from these places. My two cents for the day!

Talia818

Kids might have low risk but how about all the staff that works in the school most have heath issues and are at high risk .You can not social distance is a school its not possible.

Hollowed Ground

Not that social distancing does any good when done for the whole day. Viruses do not respect 6 ft barriers.

Hollowed Ground

There is no such thing as low risk. Everyone is at equal risk for infection. Differences arise in what happens after that.

Street92

Oh, please! This article, and those like it, with their calls and predictions of a “new normal” are just plain stupid. When the absurd lockdown ends, most people will go back to behaving exactly as they behaved before this so-called pandemic. And that’s a good thing!

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

gomogirl

No they won't return to behaving as they did pre-pandemic, the predictions aren't stupid, they're right on the money. Everything changed after 9/11----the U.S. became anti-terrorist, we still can't enter an office building without ID and going through security, we can't board an airplane without ID and security checks, the government coordinated intelligence and security through a new Cabinet level Agency Homeland Security. COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the U.S. now and is highly transmissable and there is no cure, and unemployment is at 25%. And you think nothing is going to change? You are seriously wrong. It already has.

Hollowed Ground

Yes they will, and many will get sick and some will die for it. I hope their hamburger and french fries will be worth it.

Greg F

I won’t go back to the office if it opens. Too much risk for someone with long-term respiratory issues. I question whether or not my spouse should since she could drag Corona home or my kid could from school. Too many just plain dumb actions being take. By people refusing to do the right thing not just to protect themselves, but others. The virus can go through HVAC so how to prevent that in a close area?

jsklinelga

After the initial panic the focus now turns to the long term changes. By far, public schools impact more households than any other community activity. Today there is the announcement that the sports programs have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. Will the situation be substantially changed by August?

We are a people prone to hindsight criticism. What will people be saying in August? That our State leaders should have known. What will be the contingencies when the virus shows up at a certain school. A 14 day lock down mandatory? What about the working parents?

No doubt 2020 will a year of great social transformation.

public-redux

“... a year of great social transformation.”

Like what?

DickD

Like Jim doesn't know.

public-redux

He is being biblical in his prophecies: dramatic and vague.

Can’t go wrong that way.

jsklinelga

DickD

Wasting space similar to yours and Public's post. As my post states "hindsight criticism" it suggest the future is unknown but planning should occur based on reasonably predictable scenarios. Yours and Public's post are the standard negative responses with little thought or meaning.

"Biblical prophesy" How astute. It is not vague but certainly dramatic. I am going to share my secret. Using a Gideon Bible turn to page 334. In the second sentence of the fourth paragraph look at the third word. Placing your Ovaltine decoder ring over the word will unlock the future events for the upcoming months.

I am sure this makes as much sense as your meaningless posts.

DickD

Jim judges us again, Gladys! Jim, judge not less you be judged!

Lev928

Jobs look different now. The current benefit is the lack of commutures from Frederick into Montgomery County. 270 is like the old days before the corrupt liberal transplants sought refuge to the north. The current situation on 270 is the way it was, and should always be.

Pisspot1

[smile]You read my mind.

Pisspot1

This is for Lev928 comment. I agree

phydeaux994

Lev928, it’s called Urban Sprawl and it started in the 1950’s out of D.C. and progressively consumed the adjacent Counties in a radial pattern over the last 70 years. MoCo got caught a little off guard and the sprawl developed Willy Nilly but most of the Counties caught on and started to plan for it 50 years ago. But Frederick County didn’t and still hasn’t 70 years later. WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU LEV928 and PP1? Urban Sprawl entered FC more than 20 years ago in URBANA? Who in FC sprung to ACTION? You Lev, or you PP, or your relatives and neighbors? And now you guys are crying and feeling sorry for yourselves for being...o.k. I’ll be civil, too dang LAZY to do anything about it! BOO HOO!! Waaah! Waaah! IT’S TOO LATE NOW!!!

DickD

Yes and the Blaine gang made it worse.

DickD

In 1977 c 270 was almost empty m

Riptide262

Maybe, but it was packed in January 1988 when I moved here. It has only gotten worse since then.

MD1756

Lev, if you have children, you're contributing to the problem.

DickD

Adopt one and join the crowd, MD!

gomogirl

But you like our tax money huh?

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