COVID Fallout - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1850994

COVID Fallout

As an outreach social worker in our area, and a food pantry coordinator, I would like to remind people of one of the most dire consequences of the COVID pandemic [“Those With Booster Shots Have Little To Worry About, County Official Says, Even As Case Numbers Rise To Record Levels, Thanks To Omicron,”, December 22]:

People fire their cleaning ladies.

As families and individuals move to protect their children and aging parents from infection, often one of their first actions is to stop the cleaning lady’s visits. This is a reasonable action, given the wide spread of COVID and a cleaning lady’s weekly contacts with many people and households.

But what is not reasonable is the employer’s lack of regard for the cleaning lady’s well-being after her discharge.

Recently, one of my friends lost two cleaning jobs in one week. One of the jobs was for multiple days a week, and child care as well. One employer said the family would invite her to return after the surge was over. She was devastated.

My friend, an East End resident, has two children, both lovely and personable, good students and athletic, too. She and her husband have worked very hard for many years. She volunteers at two local organizations regularly.

Losing her jobs was a disaster for her. Like many of our service workers, she is not eligible for unemployment or other government services because of her immigration status. Meanwhile, she pays local, state and federal taxes on her income. She is not sure she can cover her housing costs over the next months.

My friend’s story is the story of many other women here: cleaning ladies, and women working behind counters, and women taking care of children. These women are your neighbors. They care for you and make your lives better. Their children go to school with your children.

If you lay them off, please continue to pay them, like you would pay your therapist or other professionals. If you can’t do that, offer to help in any way you can.

Treating every human being well is the quickest way to end COVID. Start with those who care for you.

Leah Mason Oppenheimer

Sag Harbor