Essential and frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery, and delivery personnel have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s one group who hasn’t received the credit it deserves — security guards, says Steve Amitay, executive director and general counsel at the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO).
“When you see that all the well-deserved praise of politicians and the media are given to essential workers for continuing to leave their homes to do their jobs, it’s just incredible that security officers who truly are on the frontlines are being overlooked in the praise,” Amitay told Yahoo Finance’s “On the Move.”
“Before COVID-19, the security officer was pretty much a visible deterrent at an entrance of a building — he would help people. Now there’s added responsibilities of having to enforce the policies of the business. Some of the safe distancing and mass ordinances, so that’s an added responsibility.”
Amitay tells Yahoo Finance that the risks security officers faced before COVID-19 were great, but the pandemic has amplified those risks.
“Someone might be ignorant, someone might be belligerent, someone might be troubled. But if someone comes into an establishment and says, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask,’ it falls on the security officer to deal with that situation, not anybody else in the store. Not the grocery clerk, not the retail employee; it’s a security officer who’s got that public safety duty.”
Attacks against security officials have spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic. Calvin James Munerlyn, a security guard at a Family Dollar in Michigan, was even killed after he allegedly refused to let a customer in the store without a mask.
Amitay notes that Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) introductory statement for the proposed COVID-19 compensation fund overlooked naming private security professionals, which he described as, “a measure of disrespect.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.