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The American workforce cannot afford another lockdown | Opinion - Adam D. Povlitz - South Florida SunSentinel

Adam Povlitz, CEO and President of Anago Cleaning Systems, was featured in South Florida's SunSentinel for his opinion on how lockdowns affect the American workforce.   According to Adam "Another mandatory lockdown will destroy workers in the service industry. Most American workers are employed in the service sector." Read the full feature below. 

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Despite the nationwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, infection and death rates continue to rise, and several states continue to contemplate a move back toward system-wide shutdowns. But think back to our first round of business/service shutdowns and ask yourself: How much did it really help? The virus continues to rampage our communities while small businesses and service industry workers bear the brunt of it all. Our nation simply doesn’t have the capacity for another mandated lockdown. Continued talk of mass shutdowns needs to stop.

Now, a year into COVID, many people are still working from home and kids have started the new school year online. Cabin fever is worse than ever, so we venture out with masks and social distancing in mind. We’re exhausted from living cooped up with these rules, so many are half-heartedly following COVID precautions. And we’re seeing infection rates rise because of it.

So, what exactly do these lockdowns accomplish, if not an actual reduction in COVID rates or wiping out of the disease? How long will we keep attempting the same unsuccessful tactic?

Adam Povlitz is CEO and president of Anago Cleaning Systems, a Pompano Beach-based company that is one of the world’s leading franchised commercial cleaning companies.So, what exactly do these lockdowns accomplish, if not an actual reduction in COVID rates or wiping out of the disease? How long will we keep attempting the same unsuccessful tactic?

Lockdowns kill businesses and the economy

When America is forced into a mandatory lockdown, employers have no option but to close up shop entirely or go remote as best as they can. After our first lockdown last spring, the workforce was thrown into three categories: essential, remote and the destitute. If you were working a job that allowed remote work, then there wasn’t much of a financial burden for you to bear.

But for blue-collar or service-industry jobs, the story was much different. Many of those roles cannot function remotely, such as caregivers, waiters, mechanics and construction workers. Lockdowns are regressive and result in an overwhelming increase in unemployment, further separating the class system and leaving the rich to gain in affluence or at least maintain wealth. Those struggling with their family financial situations are falling behind on rent, mortgages and the ability to put food on the table.

Another mandatory lockdown will destroy workers in the service industry. Most American workers are employed in the service sector. Pew Research showed that last year, 107.8 million people (71% of all nonfarm payroll employees) worked in private service-providing industries. Among the major service-industry sectors, the biggest was trade, transportation and utilities (27.8 million workers), followed by education and health services (24.3 million), and leisure and hospitality (16.7 million). Nearly 12.9 million Americans worked in manufacturing. These are the areas that will be most affected by wide-spread lockdowns. Millions will be negatively affected and may not recover, leaving many families dependent on government hand-outs and programs for basic survival. That is not the United States!

Lockdowns widen the inequity gap

Diving into ethnicities of those most effected by lockdowns, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that although Hispanic populations make up just over 17% of the workforce, they account for 30% of those working in construction-related fields, and close to 40% of agriculture and forestry professions. Black populations, just over 12% of the American workforce, make up 19% of department store employees and 20% of transportation employees. All of these fields are severely affected by COVID lockdowns, leaving these ethnic groups disproportionately laid off and without an income.

The solution: Stay open responsibly

Our nation simply doesn’t have the capacity for another mandated lockdown. The bottom line is that we need our businesses to stay open, but it must be done responsibly. Each and every citizen needs to take precautions to safeguard themselves and their families. When in public, wear a mask; adhere to social distancing policies; demonstrate an understanding of situational awareness. We are failing ourselves by defying health orders and other safeguards meant to keep our economy open. The quicker we learn to move forward responsibly with an open economy, the faster we can adjust and find our place in the new normal.

Click here to see this feature in the SunSentinel

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