UFCW 1518 members in Community Health, Social Services, and home support have been sounding alarm bells over conditions in in-home care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers always wear masks when they enter their clients’ homes to provide care. However, they often encounter members of the household and visitors who do not wear masks while the workers are administering care to their clients.
“This situation puts the workers, their families, and all of the other clients that they encounter at risk,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “An important next step is to require those interacting in their homes with health care workers to be masked as long as they are medically able. Such an order would provide an additional layer of protection for workers and clients against the transmission of COVID-19.”
Today, President Novak sent a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Minister of Labour Harry Bains asking that everyone who comes into contact with a health care worker in their home wear a mask if they are medically able to do so.
The letter follows an earlier letter sent to Dr. Henry that makes the same request and comes after Dr. Henry issued sweeping mask orders and restrictions for in-home social visits.
In-home care workers make visits to multiple homes in the course of their work and interact with elderly and vulnerable clients. They frequently have close physical contact with their clients, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These workers are asking the government to help them flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing an in-home care mask order.
Community Health, Social Services, and home care work is a critical part of our public health system. And like all working people, these workers deserve to feel safe at work. UFCW 1518 will continue to advocate to have government and employers make things right and commit to make their safety a priority.