Employees Across Baldwin Park are Combating the Nationwide Mask Debate
Since late March when the Los Angeles County mandated closures across all business who were nonessential in order to ramp up efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19- Elise Pueblos has continued to work all throughout the pandemic. Pueblos, a resident in Baldwin Park and an employee at Açaí Joint has had to adjust her everyday life and work routine to take extra precautions to help avoid the transmission of COVID-19. She describes the first few weeks after the closures and mask mandate as full of panic and fear across Baldwin Park residents. Not only did the amount of sales and customers decrease but the few that would enter to pick up their mobile orders would be fully masked- some even in gloves or paired with a face shield. However, now after almost 7 months into what felt like the world shutdown, Pueblos mentions that even though COVID-19 is still very much prevalent some customers have lost the fear and seem almost careless regarding mask use.
Nationwide there has been an increase of debate regarding the use of masks. Different news outlets have showcased the polarization at the larger political level but not really at a more local level like in the city of Baldwin Park. What is driving customers and residents across Baldwin Park to develop what many have considered as “COVID fatigue”? Focusing the story on the perspective of Baldwin Park’s employees who have worked throughout the entire lockdown can help narrow down the turning point of the community’s behavior.
Baldwin Park is a predominantly a Hispanic community- a community who has disproportionately been impacted by COVID-19. On top of that Baldwin Park is a small city located in the central San Gabriel Valley that is often under reported in the news. Through the eyes of employees who have worked during the pandemic there has been an increase in the “COVID fatigue” where numerous Baldwin Park residents have either stopped wearing mask properly-some no mask at all- and others exhausted from social distancing. In telling this story, I would need to make sure to represent how the turning point of this behavior can disproportionately affect the community. I would also want to showcase the emotions of Baldwin Park employees regarding people who enter their workplaces without using their mask properly.
Some of the questions I plan on asking is how do these employees react to customers who refuse to follow the use of masks. Following that question I am curious to know if they feel safe at their workplace and what measures their workplaces provides for protection from customer contact. From the new interview question I have conducted I have noticed employees seeing the “COVID fatigue” across many Baldwin Park customers.
The way I plan on formatting this report is by adding visual faces to the employees across Baldwin Park who risk exposure to COVID-19 due to the community’s increase of “COVID fatigue”. To go along with the visuals I want to include quotes from their direct experience regarding customer’s usage of mask throughout the prolong seven months of being in a pandemic.