BY GARRY BEGG
MLA for Surrey-Guildford
WHILE most in Surrey have been staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, essential workers have been working diligently to keep our city and our province going. Thanks to these essential workers, we have food and supplies for our families, clean water to drink, clean and safe public spaces, and access to health care if we need it.
In my riding of Surrey-Guildford alone, thousands of people who work at grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, and in many other sectors have found themselves on the front lines during this pandemic. We will never be able to thank these workers enough for their contributions to our community during these difficult times.
With all that frontline workers are doing to support us, many in our community are asking – how can we thank our frontline workers for everything they are doing? Around Surrey and across B.C. our communities are coming up with creative ways to say thank you.
From those stepping outside their homes at 7 p.m. to cheer on healthcare workers, to the hearts and encouraging messages displayed in front windows all across the city, it is clear just how much our communities value the contributions our frontline workers are making. Beyond these incredible and heartfelt expressions of thanks, there are a number of other ways we can support the people who are keeping our society going throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting essential workers means making sure they have safe working conditions. Across the province employers, employees, and governments at all levels are working together to keep workers safe. It is vital that employers and businesses follow guidelines and rules put in place by health experts, and we must work together to ensure workers have accurate and up-to-date information on how to keep their workplaces healthy.
It is also vital that all workers, including those who are essential, never feel compelled to work while sick. To help workers stay safe and stay home when they are unwell, it is now illegal for anyone in B.C. to lose their job for following the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, during the COVID-19 crisis.
As we move toward carefully lifting some of the restrictions that have been put in place, while protecting the progress we have made in fighting COVID-19, following the instructions of Dr. Henry remains an important part of creating a safer community for everyone around us, especially those working in public spaces like hospitals, businesses, and grocery stores.
In the words of Premier John Horgan, “the economy is people, and people are the economy.” And over the past few months, it has become clear just how important essential service workers are to the success of our economies and communities. To every worker on the front lines of this pandemic, and to all those in our community who are doing their part by following the rules to keep others safe – thank you for what you are doing – we would not be able to get through this without you.