Despite the current surge in Covid-19 infection rates across Mexico, the Soriana supermarket chain has agreed to let senior citizens return to their labor as bag packers.
Under federal Covid-19 guidelines, bag packers over 65 fell into the “most vulnerable” category and were obliged to stay at home during the peak of the pandemic.
The situation of elderly bag packers received a boost recently when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised to intercede on their behalf with Walmart, which had declined to reinstate seniors who pack customers’ bags.
His intervention seemed to have the desired effect and Walmart Mexico this week issued this statement: “In recent days, our customers have expressed their support for the re-incorporation of older adults as volunteer packers. We listen to our customers permanently to offer them the best shopping experience.”
The Jalisco government has advised caution and says it is collaborating closely with the National Association of Self-service and Department Stores (ANTAD) to determine protocols for seniors returning to work as baggers.
Jalisco Labor Secretary Marco Valrio Pérez Gollaz stressed that the senior citizens must first demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
According to a registry compiled by the Jalisco Labor and Social Welfare Department (StyPS), around 3,500 senior citizens work as bag packers in Jalisco.
Volunteer baggers in Mexico also include minors, who are permitted to work under the authorization of the Ministry of Labor. They do not earn a salary or receive benefits, and rely solely on tips given by clients, as do senior citizens.