I am really confused and trying to understand the current state we the public are going through with COVID, Omicron and god knows what else is next.
On one hand restrictions have eased to near normal conditions of next to no more QR code scanning, showing of double vaccination and easing of face masks, yet the world is grappling with controlling the latest explosion of the next strain or virus.
Two very different messages here.
Whilst I believe pretty much most people would love the fact we don't require to do those things anymore, perhaps it may have been a little premature to jump out of the fire so quickly, when we are still trying to work out what the hell these new strains are.
Really there is no time for celebrating yet, sadly.
I am becoming very frustrated at the ongoing reluctance of local retail staff to remove or lower their masks to facilitate communication with hearing impaired people.
Despite clear NSW Health guidelines which allow the removal of masks to communicate with a deaf person, I have first-hand witnessed numerous occasions where service staff outright refuse to do so.
Excuses have ranged from "Sorry, I didn't know" to "I'm not prepared to" and "our staff have never been trained in that" to the staff member shaking their head and just walking away. Hearing impaired people rely on lip-reading and other visual cues to communicate and it is commonsense that a mask can impede this.
For a deaf person, the constant need to educate and remind retail staff is frustrating and humiliating and the process of offering feedback to the retailer time-consuming. To ask somebody to communicate on their behalf is not always practical and can affect self-esteem and independence.
COVID restrictions have been in place in some form or another for nearly two years. Surely this has been sufficient time for retailers, whose main focus should be customer service, to educate their staff and implement the adjustments required to allow them to communicate with all members of their clientele.
To those patient and accommodating retail staff who make an effort to assist, keep up the good work, there are many of your peers who should look to you as an example.
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The Wagga Wagga branch of Can Assist would like to say a very big thank you for the financial support we receive from many local businesses and community members who donated, supported the BBQs, raffles, golf days, garden parties, dice run and many more events throughout a COVID-interrupted 2021.
Can Assist has made a real difference to the lives of many. Since re-forming, four years ago, we have softened the financial burden associated with fighting cancer by providing more than $160,000 to cancer sufferers and their carers in Wagga.
We wish all a very happy Christmas and a New Year of good health and prosperity.
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