Typically, the government creates two standards of people, those it deems worthy and those it does not. This is the case in the legal system where those with money can buy themselves out of jail benefits and immigrants who are rounded up while at work while other immigrants who disrobe for magazines qualify for Einstein immigrant visas. The recent stay-at-home orders issued by government officials effectively creates two standards of workers – essential and not essential.

Although the intent is appropriate, the double standard is clearly there.

All workers are essential. If payment is made to a worker then their work has value and therefore it is essential.

Using the term “essential” would have been appropriate if it had been used as expected.

Almost no one would argue with the idea that medical professionals, law enforcement and community infrastructure like water, electricity and sewage are essential services. Likewise, groceries and communications services are essential services needed by those stuck at home.

But the orders to stay-at-home carves out so many loopholes that almost anyone is essential, but not everyone.

This has led to memes on social media from certain individuals indicating that they are essential while others are not. In one case, a carpenter working a frame job on a new house posted that they are essential poking fun at others at home.

Clearly this proves a two-standard worker, those whose job has been deemed non-essential by the governments and the others who are at work because of the way the orders are written.

Not only are there loopholes in the orders that can lead to abuse, and memes of “I’m better than you,” but the faulty orders can lead to police abuse. Police now have the authority to question anyone that is out on the street under the guise of trying to determine if the individual is in violation of the stay-at-home order or not. Misunderstandings and abuse can lead to problems for both sides later on.

The way that the Coronavirus chaos is being handled by all governments shows that the issue is protecting people so long as political favors are included in the process.

For example, the Orange County Florida order (2020-04) carves out many exceptions to the stay-at-home order. Some are obvious, like medical professionals. Others are not.

For example, the order states that among the essential workers are “licensed contractors and other tradesmen” (10). The section adds, “that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and other structures.”

Sounds straightforward but many builders are designating their sub-contractors as “essential” in order to keep building homes. The order was intended to allow workers to secure property and make emergency repairs but not to continue building homes that on one is buying now. We note “intended” but maybe the language was included to protect certain political lobbies.

Orange County Florida is not the only stay-at-home order with similar provisions. El Paso, Texas County issued a similar order.

El Paso builders are issuing their sub-contractors letters ostensibly arguing that their subs working on new homes are “essential” based on the loophole that the workers “are engaged in residential or commercial construction, or other construction that supports essential services.”

Clearly, the loopholes are being used to continue business as usual.

Even Realtors are holding open houses under the loopholes of “essential services”.

Yet, the schools are closed, and teachers are being forced to work from their homes. How are they not “essential” services?

Hairdressers and manicurists are not loop holed into the orders. Is it because they don’t have a powerful political lobbyist carving out loopholes for them as well?

Therein lies the problem with the stay-at-home orders that have loopholes in them to protect certain workers. All workers are essential. Carving loopholes into government orders is wrong. The government has officially created two classes of workers, the essentials and the not-essentials, with lots of exceptions.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...