With limited experience to call on, it is difficult to evaluate the efficacy of government orders closing various businesses. But assuming that the concerns are well founded and the closures appropriate, not nearly enough is being done to protect retail clerks.

The Press Herald had at least two articles Tuesday about protective equipment for first responders (“First responders adapt to virus risks, brace for staff and equipment shortages“; “Crafters make masks to bolster dwindling hospital supplies“). Yet store clerks are working long hours at low pay, without masks and often without gloves. Neither the governor’s nor the mayor’s orders requiring other businesses to close included requirements that these apparently at-risk workers receive basic safety equipment.

Let’s provide store workers deemed essential with pay bonuses, masks and gloves at the state’s expense right away.

Ed MacColl

Cape Elizabeth

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