Opinion | Groomers death says NOW is time for convenience to die

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Patricia Ciamettie, a 72-year-old grandmother and groomer from west suburban Burbank died this past Tuesday as a result of complications due to COVID-19. Grieved by friends and family, described as a caring grandmother, Ciamettie’s obituary appeared in a Chicago newspaper on Wednesday.

Ciamettie joined 26 others across Illinois whose lives have been taken by the virus as of Thursday afternoon.

The Grandmother is one of the hundreds of thousands ‘essential’ workers who were deemed as such under the State of Illinois’ ‘Stay-at-Home’ order and just the first of many whom you may later ask in hindsight, ‘was it worth it’ to leave this business open? As it stands, most animal services fall under the ‘Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture’ portion of Essential Business Operations in Illinois’ ‘Stay-at-Home’ order.

With barbers and nail salons closed, how does grooming hang on to a world shut inside?

PetCo took limited action following various ‘Stay-at-Home’ orders throughout the Country, canceling events and dog washing services along with reducing store hours. However, their Grooming department remains open, operating by appointment only with no walk-ins, including their location in Bradley. Competitor PetSmart made the corporate level decision to close their grooming salons on March 21st, offering curbside pickup for in-store items.

Ciamettie was not a groomer for either store.

The problem in Illinois and States across the Union is a lack of clarity in regards to what is and is not considered essential. When you don’t know the rules of the game, it’s hard to say you’re breaking them and even harder to say you’re following them.   

Then came Tuesday, March 24th.

Not only celebrated by small businesses as the ‘Great American Take-Out’ but mourned by Ciamettie’s family as her date of passing. In recent days, thousands of new, untrained carry out opportunities have been placed in vendors laps across the State that previously never offered such a service. This event gave aid to the unseen enemy with uncountable opportunities for a virus to make a leap across pizza boxes, plastic bags and dirty hands of fast food service employees.

Small business owners had a national spotlight to show ‘championing for the little guy’ while throwing even smaller people in harm’s way, exposing workers to the public one-hand-at-a-time that otherwise could not exist to interact with the public under the current ‘Stay-at-Home’ orders.  

So how long until a Health Department official is tracking you down because your debit was swiped at a restaurant that later has a worker test positive for COVID-19? How do you take the news when you find out they’re in the ICU?

Was that chili dog worth it to claim for a 24-hour span supported a small business for just one day? Possibly infecting family and friends since then?

We do not have the liberty to ask these questions in hindsight. Everything we do is nearly 10 days behind the current results, today topping over 2,500 in Illinois. All we have to protect ourselves is ourselves.

It’s beyond time to look deep down at co-workers and ask what is and is not acceptable in the current but not always equitable ‘Stay-at-Home’ environment. When does it become necessary to pull the plug on convenience? Is there a shorter cord to cut? Hindsight is not an option anyone can afford now. 

Ciamettie, sadly, can no longer appreciate such a future ruling.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoffhttp://www.SocialSnowball.com
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.

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