OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — The Coin Laundry Association (CLA) is calling on state and local public health authorities to prioritize the vaccination of frontline workers at Laundromats to protect them from COVID-19 and ensure ongoing access to laundry services by the general public.
Laundromat workers have been deemed essential by both the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and every individual state that agree that Laundromats are essential.
“More than 120,000 essential Laundromat employees remain hard at work throughout the COVID crisis,” says Brian Wallace, CLA’s president and CEO. “They have been instrumental in delivering stepped-up disinfection and social distancing protocols – all while providing clean clothes for tens of millions of families each and every week.”
According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the next phase of immunization priority should focus on the critical infrastructure workforce. Along with such sectors as grocery, public transit and education, frontline workers at Laundromats provide an important public service.
“I think Laundromats risk getting lost in the shuffle,” says Wallace. “While the invaluable grocery store clerks and public transit workers come to mind quite easily, the frontline workers in America’s Laundromats have been unsung contributors to maintaining access to clean clothes. Vaccinating Laundromat workers supports stated goals to ensure equity in the immunization process. Our workers come from the diverse, often low-income neighborhoods they serve.”
CLA says it’s ready to assist health authorities in reaching Laundromat workers as well as those families who visit the Laundromats. Based on proximity to need and weekly contact with at-risk populations, Laundromats can serve as an efficient connection to hard-to-reach families with public health information and even access to vaccines, the Association adds.