Why can’t people who’ve previously been infected with COVID-19 clean car interiors?

One of my favorite businesses here in the Boston area has been shut down since March as part of one of the 50+ orders from the Maskachusetts governor: full-service interior cleaning at the Allston Car Wash.

Most of the folks whom I’ve met working there over the years were native Spanish speakers, i.e., the very folks whom NPR tells us are most likely to have been infected with coronavirus:

MassINC’s survey of Latino results found the infection rates for essential workers is far from the only challenge Latino residents have faced. But it is a major one. Public health data, however incomplete, is clear about one thing: Latino residents have been much more likely to contract COVID-19 and to suffer serious health consequences from it. The poll also documented the devastating economic and health consequences many have felt and showed many Latinos to be among those who have been hit the hardest.

So they’ve very likely been exposed to coronavirus and now it is illegal for them to work because they live in the state that ranks #3 for most coronapanic-related restrictions. [The article didn’t talk about “Latinx” residents of Maskachusetts, so have only partial information.]

I previously asked why people who’d previously been hospitalized for COVID-19 and discharged months earlier couldn’t have enjoyed being spectators at the U.S. Open tennis match. Now the same question for working in these banned industries: Why can’t the car wash reopen for interior cleaning if they employ only those who’ve previously had a COVID-19 positive test result? Indulge in some mask theater as well if we want a “belt and suspenders” approach and have the cleaned cars sit for a couple of minutes with the windows open and the vent blowers turned up to max.

9 thoughts on “Why can’t people who’ve previously been infected with COVID-19 clean car interiors?

  1. You are gaining a reputation for being a person who is unsympathetic to the diverse needs of not just our immigrant population but the non-indigenous native born during this catastrophe! Since they’ve been previously infected, it’s obvious that they can get infected again!

    It’s like a conversation I had once with a gun club friend who had to evict a tenant when he found out the police wanted the guy for attempted murder. I said to him: “I hope you’re locked and loaded. If he attempted it once he might attempt it again!”

    • That’s no joke in Massachusetts by the way. If you’re a landlord and ever have to evict a tenant, your lawyer will inform you that a close reading of the tenancy laws here will tell you very quickly: once you sign the lease, if there are no other stipulations, the tenant has “Legal Possession” of the dwelling. You as a landlord are not so much a “property owner” as a “provider of housing.” As a result, evictions in Massachusetts are a very big deal and take a long time, involving courts, judges, sheriffs, constables and even storage facilities that you, the landlord must pay for to house the evicted tenant’s stuff if they decide not to haul it away themselves.

    • @Alex. Too funny. And I am sure glad I do not live in Maskachusetts! License rajs, complex laws, and lots of governor orders on the coronaplague.

    • @PaulB: It’s hilarious, in the “only serious people can laugh” sense. In addition to the proliferation of other Rights in MA, the tenant has a thing called the “right to quiet enjoyment” of the dwelling. So if your tenant hasn’t paid the rent in 4 months, the landlord is not just legally obligated to uphold all the terms on their side of the lease (including whatever services like electricity, water, heat, snow removal, trash removal, etc.) but any attempt to badger or pressure the tenant for the rent money can be construed as harassment under the law, and the judges here will find in the tenant’s favor a lot of the time, and they can sue you. This comes as a big shock to a lot of antediluvian landlords who think they can just march in there, open up the door and tell the tenant to pay up.

    • @PaulB: It’s very much related to the question Philip asked in this thread, the answer to which is increasingly: “I wouldn’t want to run a business or be a landlord here.” And after a while, there won’t be any people who want to do either.

      I think it’s atrocious that the people who work hard for a living at that (terrific!) car wash can’t go back to work and do their jobs to earn the livings they count on and take pride in. But these things are up the Republican Spoiler Governor and the 1-Party-Rule legislature here, whose agendas are not a matter for the Little People to decide. This week they’re debating the $46 billion dollar state budget, and that’s going to be fun to watch.

  2. Phil, you could also have the cleaned cars go through a UV sterilization chamber (needed for cloudy days) to eliminate any of the virus that may be present after previous procedures.

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