The mobilization of outreach employees during COVID-19

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Since mid-March (March 14, 2020), COVID-19 has precipitated the closure of all public-receiving establishments. In reality, these are all establishments considered “non-essential” to daily life. Cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas or clothing or decoration shops to name but a few are affected. This is intended to greatly limit contact and proximity to people in the city. In addition, the containment introduced is intended to limit the unseured movement of the population.

Continued activity of local businesses

Despite the containment and closure of public facilities, some places remain open. Indeed, local businesses are essential to people’s lives. This also applies to banks, pharmacies, or some post offices. These are establishments where employees continue to operate, and interact with potentially ill people. Like front-line health care workers, employees who are still on duty are at risk for their health every day. To this end, the management of the establishments has taken measures, in agreement with the Regional Health Agencies. The aim is to be able to welcome employees in a more protected environment, with strict hygiene measures.

This can be seen in many establishments: employees protect themselves with the wearing of masks and gloves. The virus spreads with droplets emitted by the mouth of a sick person. By wearing a well-positioned mask, the risk decreases, as gloves also avoid touching a contaminated surface. In the Angel bakery chain, the crew received specific equipment. Wearing a transparent polycarbonate anti-projection visor protects against potentially affected customers. All without the smile of the sellers being masked, to maintain a benevolent atmosphere at this particular time.

At the checkout, customer safety is also the order of the day. Indeed, the stores materialize separation lines of 1 meter in each customer to respect the social distance. In local supermarkets, cashiers are protected by large plexiglass windows to avoid direct contact. When paying, the guidelines recommend that you prefer the Bank Card, preferably without contact. As a result, there is far less contact on the payment terminal than by entering your personal code.

Easier access to local shops

Employees and their employers want not only to ensure their safety, but also that of their customers. In convenience stores, disinfection of affected areas is routine, such as payment terminals. However, these are not the only measures put in place by businesses. For example, some establishments have decided to create special opening slots for the safety of all. Seniors, pregnant women, or people with disabilities can therefore shop in a quieter environment. In Talence, the Intermarché supermarket opened this slot 30 minutes before the traditional opening time. A gesture of solidarity and kindness towards the most fragile.

At the same time, the health care staff are in turn “cared for” by local shops. They arrange their schedules so that doctors and nurses can make purchases after the end of their shift. A strong gesture, which reaches out to the professions subjected to intense tension, a way to thank them for their dedication. In addition, local businesses want to support another trade that is also directly affected by the virus: agriculture. Local producers are no longer able to sell their stocks, including the closure of markets to avoid gatherings.

To this end, local supermarkets offer farmers to deposit their unsold stocks. This helps to increase the supply of fresh produce to stores while helping local farmers. Real gestures of solidarity that put balm in the hearts of those who suffer from COVID-19. However, solidarity does not end there.

Recruit volunteers to help outreach teams

Supporting and relieving are the watchwords in a global pandemic. In Bordeaux, as in the rest of the country, certain sectors of activity are experiencing labour pressure. Indeed, the fear of contracting the virus is important. Teams working in local businesses are limited. This means that the number of hours worked each week is also increasing. In this context, some training organizations have decided to respond. To accompany these already overworked workers, they send candidates ready to help on a daily basis. Although life has slowed down, it has not stopped, and the need for labour is becoming vital.

Some industries regularly publish part-time job openings. This helps to maintain the economic activity already well damaged by the virus. Among them, cleanliness, home help / EHPAD, transport, agri-food, logistics or mass distribution. Without these sectors, the French economy would collapse, as these occupations are indispensable for all citizens. It is also for this reason that training organisations remain in contact with their partners in the regions. This allows for good follow-up of files with alternates, in a complex period where the issue of employment is central.

At the same time, there are Employer Groups for Insertion and Qualification (GEIQ). They are collectives of companies led by their members. They connect people in difficulty to access employment with member companies that recruit. Employees are trained in the trade and available directly. An advantage to help unemployed employees and businesses impacted by the lack of employees. Solidarity leads to the recognition of all French people.

Audrey KOZACZKA – BORDEAUX Business

Sources:

GEIQ – Employer groups for integration and qualification

Ange Press Release – March 25, 2020 – Ange Bakery Network Continues to Work While Protecting Customers and Employees

GEIC Press Release – March 27, 2020 – These employees of the Employer Groups for Insertion and Qualification engaged during the COVID-19 health crisis

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