Island pauses to applaud essential workers


People across the island united last night in a massive show of support for essential workers after a social media rallying cry.

Vivienne Rochhead, from St George’s, said that the minute-long “clap session” she and friends organised had turned out to be a “phenomenal” success.

She said: “So, many of my neighbours came out with pots and pans and air horns.

“It was so loud in our yard, that we actually had to stop for a little bit, because our ears were ringing.”

Ms Rochhead added: I know St David’s was really loud. We heard some air horns from our neighbours, but I think we also heard some air horns from across the harbour, too.”

Ms Rochhead and other members of the all-women’s cycling group, the MissFits, used social media yesterday to encourage people to show their appreciation for healthcare professionals and other essential workers, by making as much noise as they could at 7pm.

Ms Rochhead’s message asked members of the public to “clap your hands, bang your drums or pots, blow your air horns and thank the healthcare workers and all other workers, who are supporting us, today, tomorrow and onwards”.

Ms Rochhead said that she at first asked her cycling group to join her in the public demonstration and for them to ask their friends to join in.

However, Ms Rochhead added that the message went viral and the event started to grow.

Ms Rochhead said: “My husband told me that I would know that I got the word out there, if it came back to me by 3pm, and it came back to me by 3pm today!

“One of my friends, Sonia Romero, put it onto MAJ’s List and created the photograph for the clap session, so that really helped.”

Ms Rochhead said that she was inspired by similar shows of solidarity in New York City and the United Kingdom, where people cheered for healthcare professionals and other emergency workers, who have continued to work after widespread lockdowns in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “I have so many friends that are in the healthcare sector, whether they’re nurses or doctors or the cleaning staff.

“They’re putting themselves out there, and whether it’s friends here or abroad, I know they’re taking a lot of risks in their job and I think that is so selfless.

“It makes me so proud to call my friends who are doing this, my friends.”

Ms Rochhead added that her thanks extended to government workers, grocery store staff and other essential service workers who did not have the option of working from home.

She said: “I just decided that it would be nice to give them a big thank-you and let them know that the island is actually listening.

“We are really thankful for everybody who is doing their part.”

Zina Brown, a freelance advertising agent, said that she gave a round of applause from the balcony of her Sandys home to recognise the efforts of grocery store workers and dock workers, who have kept essential supplies flowing.

She said: “They’re the front line of everything and I honestly can’t differentiate between those who work in the supermarkets, those who work in the hospital and those who deliver supplies.

“I think this situation has really shown co-operation, collaboration and the courageousness and selflessness of these people, while we are hunkering down.

“It’s really shown the value of these people who are often invisible to us and how vital they are to the healthy functioning of our lives.”

A similar demonstration of support is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10am.

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Published Mar 28, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 28, 2020 at 8:00 am)

Island pauses to applaud essential workers

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