The Whiplash Is Worse Than The Disease

, , , , , , | Working | August 15, 2020

The week that Minnesota’s stay-at-home order finally includes non-essential stores is a roller coaster for my coworkers and me. We spend all of Wednesday and Thursday telling customers we’ll be closed after Friday.

Friday at noon, I go into work. Within an hour, my boss is telling us we’re staying open and adjusting everyone’s hours because those of us who were supposed to have worked Saturday had come in Thursday to make up for the hours we would have lost. I leave work after an hour and a half, expecting to work Saturday, and despite social distancing guidelines, I go to my parents’ house to rant and seek their advice on how to handle the situation.

As soon as I pull into my own driveway — five hours later — I get a call from my boss to ignore everything I heard during the afternoon meeting. We’re closing effective tonight and no one needs to come to work. I text my parents and celebrate.

Saturday at 2:00 pm, I get a phone call that they’ve changed their mind and we’re going to stay open as an essential business and I need to tell my boss if I feel comfortable coming back to work. I have another tearful phone call with my parents, as well as a conversation with my very confused roommate.

A few hours later, I call to tell my boss that I’ll be at work on Monday, since I don’t feel unsafe in the building as long as customers aren’t stupid and follow guidelines, etc.

I get to work Monday afternoon and am immediately put on register, and I spend the afternoon ringing up customers and cleaning. It also happens to be my birthday, so I’m not thrilled, but I get through it. There are now signs up all over the building advising customers of the six-foot rule and hygiene practices, as well as buttons for us to wear about the distance rule.

Tuesday morning at 8:00 am, I get a phone call that the governor has adjusted his order to officially include arts and crafts stores as non-essential, and that we are no longer open for business. I ask if I can come grab a few things from the refrigerator that I’d left there yesterday and then hang up and call my mother to tell her the good news, and my dad texts me later to tell me it’s a late birthday present.

I’m not sure what the rest of my quarantine will look like, but hopefully, it’s not as mentally stressful as these four days were. I am firmly in the camp of people who believe our stay-at-home order should have been in place well before it was and perhaps we could have avoided the number of cases that we have ended up with, not to mention the ten deaths in as many days.

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