Working in the food and entertainment industry for five years teaches you a lot of things. Never stop moving because there’s always something to be done, wash your hands after you touch literally anything, and make trustworthy friends who will take your shift if you’re on your deathbed, because otherwise, you better believe you’ll be working.

In an industry where interacting with people is your job, coming in when you’re sneezing and coughing into every available section of clothing strikes some concern. As both a worker in and a patron of restaurants and event spaces, I’m always extra cautious because of my past experiences.

I’ve seen people pass out from dehydration and exhaustion, servers bringing food to families while being sick with the flu, and even the simple act of people coughing into their hands before delivering a pizza to a table. Not only is that just so disgusting, but that’s also a huge reason why illnesses are so easy to spread.

We have a wonderful opportunity now to join four other New England states in securing paid sick days for all workers. Even five sick days a year can help reduce the spread of illnesses and allow employees the time they need to rest. Please join me – and what I can only imagine is any other person who’s ever worked in a position where they had to bribe someone to take their shift – in supporting paid sick days for all Maine workers.

Nina Yeliseyev

Old Town

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