Mask Enforcement & Scheduling: Service businesses take note
What we can learn from developing nations about using technology to enforce masks.
“How are numbers in Mozambique?” I wrote to a friend on a diplomatic mission in Maputo. “I saw what’s going on in South Africa and it’s terrifying. The US is up to 3M cases as well.” This conversation was of course regarding the spread of Covid-19. Her response? “The hospitals here are empty, only 8 deaths since the beginning of the crisis. I got my nails done today.” WHAT?
People in Mozambique deal with their share of pandemics: HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera. Tuberculosis, the country’s third leading cause of death according to the CDC, is a bacteria that spreads much like the coronavirus. For this reason, my friend observes, people are familiar with the precautions. For service businesses, one of these precautions is a feature during the in-app scheduling process. Before being able to complete the online booking for her manicure, my friend had to acknowledge the popup that asked her to comply with the salon’s protocol to wear a mask, sanitize hands, and allow any visible personal items (think phone or wallet) to be subject to sanitization as well.
Why is this important? By now we’ve all heard stories about individuals who feel it is in violation of their right to wear a mask, even when inside private property, putting other patrons and employees at risk. We also have heard the tales of employees and business owners that have been attacked for requesting and attempting to enforce the policy of “no mask, no service.” For the businesses that are requiring appointments for service, a preemptive agreement is another measure to protect employees and weed out those who are not complying with common-sense safety measures for the common good. Furthermore, even if it is simply a symbolic and non-legally binding gesture, such a pre-agreed upon “contract” gives employees more ground to stand on and less fear of escalation when talking to patrons.
As we concluded our US vs Mozambique conversation, my friend mentioned this last important point: “People in Mozambique don’t have the means or access to prolong their lives if they have comorbidities; they are more humble when it comes to wearing masks to protect themselves and others.” I can’t help but wonder what it will take for us to feel the same way. In the meantime, we can virtually give the anti-maskers a way to opt out.
******I am looking for apps that allow for these type of provisional bookings. Please share if you know of any and I will update this post.*****