While hundreds of jobs and businesses have been supported by the Government throughout the coronavirus pandemic - via furlough and SEISS, business rate holidays, payments to Brentwood Borough Council and Epping Forest District Council for grants, Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans – little has been said about the businesses and workers who have continued to work and provide services throughout the lockdowns and restrictions.
Frontline workers like nurses, doctors, paramedics, teachers, police officers and supermarket staff have been rightly praised for their unstinting work through the pandemic, often in the face of abuse and rudeness from COVID-deniers and frustrated customers or parents.
But I am very aware there are hundreds of people in Brentwood and Ongar who work to support those frontline workers. These are the people who make sure everyone who is “front-facing” is paid and has the PPE they need, ensure shelves are stacked and delivery vans are filled, that business support grants are administered and paid correctly, that nurseries are open so parents of young children can work, that hundreds of questions from all those who need to know what support is on offer are answered.
These are people who do not necessarily have ‘key worker’ status so are likely to be home-schooling their children while tackling full-time jobs with hours which have expanded throughout the lockdown. These are the people who are expected to give answers to questions to which there are only difficult answers, and who often have to deal with everyone else’s frustrations.
This time of year, when days are short and weather inclement, is hard enough without the added strain of a pandemic lockdown. Please remember when you post on social media, or email a company or organisation, that there are real people receiving those messages. Real people who live in your town, your village, and who are doing all they can to help us all in these difficult times.
And if you are one of those ‘behind the frontline’ workers, perhaps doing a job with little face to face contact with your co-workers, please take this as thanks from me for all you are doing. It is noticed and appreciated.