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Are you ready for the “new normal?

The “new normal” of this public health emergency coupled with the guidance around physical distancing also makes this a trying time for clinicians, researchers, and others who support our crucial science, including trial participants. While no one knows how long our current state will last, for now, we’d want to let the recovery community know that much-needed help and flexibility is already in motion as you are feeling the impact in daily living.

A few months ago, at the beginning of the cold and flu season, Erica Pietrzyk decided to have employees wear face masks while working at her Polish food stand Pietrzyk Pierogi in Detroit. In her mind, the masks were the best way to protect customers and her employees from getting sick. The patrons, however, were put off by the practice. “We determined that we would just stop it for the time being, because people are very uncomfortable with it,” Pietrzyk says.

Now, amid the novel coronavirus epidemic, when employees don a mask, it barely gets a second glance.

Restaurants and bars have long been held to some of the most stringent regulations for food safety, with health departments enforcing regulations for temperature control, handwashing, cross-contamination, and the use of gloves to prepare food. The novel coronavirus has made those procedures all the more important, as workers try to protect themselves and contain the disease’s spread. And as some states and municipalities begin to contemplate life after the novel coronavirus surge, restaurant workers are increasingly being told to wear masks.

Already cities like Austin, Miami, New York, and some parts of California have implemented new rules requiring essential workers such as restaurant employees, as well as the general public, to wear masks when they leave their homes. More governments are starting to place deadlines for businesses and community members to gear up. Despite the medical advisories and regulations, it still remains difficult to police individual behavior or ensure that people using masks are doing so properly, and even the president has been resistant to calls to a worn mask.

But for many restaurants, masks — while initially not recommended by the CDC — feel like a vital required step to prevent community spread. “A lot of what the CDC and the health departments are telling people to do for the general public,” Pietrzyk says of the recommendations for preventing COVID-19 infections, “are things that we’ve always done because it’s what’s required of a food business.”

This week, the partners were able to acquire and distribute 300 masks to staff. “We’re trying to protect our employees. We’re trying to protect the customers,” DelSignore says, noting that at this point he wouldn’t feel comfortable purchasing carryout from an establishment where employees weren’t wearing masks. “I think that everybody feels the same way.”

Good masks are hard to find! Rockland Treatment Center’s open and we’re following all CDC guidelines and regulations!