Sorry, but you’re non-essential


Paul Szmanda

The government decides to determine who is and who isn’t essential.

I’m among the lucky people who’ve not only been able to keep their jobs in these uncertain times but who are also able to go to work every day.
I work at a State Farm Agency. We have five employees, and everyone excluding myself is licensed to take their computer home and work from their couch. Because no one else is in the office, I’m able to come in and work alone, socially distanced.
Unfortunately, not everyone has such an excuse to leave the house everyday, as many businesses and workers have been deemed ‘non-essential.’ Which begs the question, What makes a business ‘essential’?
The whole notion of ‘essential’ businesses is absurd. First of all, Who is the government to determine what is ‘essential’ for each individual?
Is it ‘non-essential’ for people to exercise and maintain their good health? It is ‘non-essential’ for teachers to educate students, and for children to learn? Is it ‘non-essential’ for people to attend Church to practice their religious faith?
On the other side of the issue, Is it really ‘essential’ for you to go out and buy a 20-years’ supply of toilet paper? Is it really ‘essential’ for people to be buying marijuana at this time? The necessity of an object is inherently subjective, depending both upon the person and upon the quantity of that object.
(For example, toilet paper is arguably essential — 20 years’ worth of it arguably is not.)
Moreover, the whole goal of this closure of ‘non-essential’ businesses is to prevent people from being in a densely populated environment in which the virus can be rapidly transmitted — but that can just as easily happen at Walmart!
Ultimately, it is wrong to use the descriptors “essential” and “non-essential” when talking about people’s jobs. A career that allows someone to support themselves and their family is hardly ‘non-essential’ to that person. And no occupation would exist if it didn’t provide any value to the economy.
In the midst of all the Coronavirus confusion, we need to get one thing straight — there is no such thing as a ‘non-essential’ business.