How Kinesio Tape Actually Works

Your Personal PT, Rachel Tavel, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) at Shift Wellness in NYC, so she knows how to get your body back on track when it’s out of line. In this weekly series, she gives you tips on how to feel better, get stronger, and train smarter.

Around the time of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, colorful strips of tape strategically stuck in various ways across athletes’ bodies started popping out on broadcast competitions. The bright, sticky stuff reappeared in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, drawing even more attention. Volleyball players reached for balls with bright pink and black tape stretched in criss-crossing patterns around their shoulders and swimmers appeared with it strewn about their backs. For those outside athletics, the application was mystifying: What was this tape all about?

Kinesio Tape (KT) is a brand of elastic therapeutic tape used in rehabilitation practices and sports to reduce pain and disability from injury. The goal is to help anyone from an elite athlete to a weekend warrior (or even grandma and grandpa) to move better. The brand is actually one of many different types of kinesiology tape, and probably the most well known—like Kleenex for tissues.

Originally developed in 1979 by Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase, the goal of the tape was to provide support while allowing movement and promoting healing of soft tissue injuries. Different application techniques serve different purposes, so depending on what is going on in your body, a trained and certified practitioner and user of KT will know which approach is right for you.

The tape itself is made up of a gentle cotton fiber strip that has one medical grade adhesive acrylic side that adheres to skin (and yes, hair… brace yourself for the removal part). It’s actually designed to mimic the elasticity of human skin. The material is latex free, hypoallergenic, water resistant and designed to stay stuck to the body through showers, sweat and all that life throws at you. The stuff should stick for three to five days, but then you’ll need to reapply.

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By lifting the top layer or skin ever so slightly, KT creators claim the adhesive quality of the tape helps promote lymphatic drainage and promote circulation, therefore reducing inflammation and pressure on the underlying tissue. The technique may even have the ability to help relax or stimulate muscles.

Depending on why you are using the tape, knowing the underlying anatomy of the body is critical for proper application. Different amounts of stretch and different attachment points are strategically selected to obtain the desired effects. Oftentimes the taping patterns you see on the surface of the skin will match up with where tendons attach to bones, where muscles are injured, or where swelling persists around a joint. But one thing is consistent: the taping is applied in a way that still allows you to move. Unlike other materials that completely limit movement, KT is not strong enough to completely immobilize a joint—and that is deliberate, in this case.

While the tape might not look like it is doing anything on the surface (except making you look extra sporty and cool), research suggests that it actually does what it claims to do. One small study, for example, showed KT is effective at improving muscle torque and strength in the quadriceps muscles of female athletes and another much larger study showed it is effective at reducing neck pain and improving mobility.

The effect of using kinesio tape is more neuromuscular than musculoskeletal, meaning it affects proprioception or your body’s awareness of itself in space rather than just mechanically distorting the tissue. In other words, the tape can help to improve signaling between the sensory receptors in the body and the brain so your brain has a better response to what is happening in the environment.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay. I was once a doubter, too. But after smacking some tape on and seeing results, I’m now a believer and a fan. Next time you have an injury, ask your PT if KT is appropriate for you and make your own conclusions. The pain of ripping it off when you’re done might just be worth it.

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When to use it: A certified physical therapist can help determine when it is appropriate to use KT in your treatment, but here are a few common uses of KT:

When using Kinesio Tape:

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'Threats won't work on us!' China tells the US to stop 'blackmailing'

‘Threats won’t work on us!’ Chinese state media urges Washington to stop its ‘crazy smearing’ over coronavirus as it stirs up anti-US sentiment

  • CCTV demanded ‘certain American politicians’ ditch their ‘Cold War mentality’ 
  • The commentary said that ‘blackmail or threats won’t work’ on Chinese people  
  • The war of words has heated up between China and the US over the pandemic 
  • US officials have accused China of withholding information about coronavirus
  • China’s foreign ministry released a 30-page rebuttal of what it said were 24 ‘lies’
  • An internal report has warned of ‘armed confrontation’ between the two nations 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

China’s state broadcaster has accused the US of smearing and attacking Beijing ‘crazily’ over the coronavirus pandemic as it fans the flames of anti-America sentiment.

A new commentary from China Central Television Station demanded ‘certain American politicians’ ditch their ‘Cold War mentality’. It claimed that ‘blackmail or threats won’t work’ on Chinese people.

Political tensions between China and the US have erupted in the past few months as the two nations condemn each other’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

China Central Television Station demanded ‘certain American politicians’ ditch their ‘Cold War mentality’ in a commentary. It claimed that ‘blackmail or threats won’t work’ on Chinese people

The war of words has heated up between China and the US over the coronavirus pandemic. The two country’s leaders are pictured meeting with each other in Japan on June 29, 2019

The US accuses China of covering up the initial epidemic, hiding the virus’s origin and taking advantage of the crisis to push its territorial ambitions.

China accuses the US of carrying out ‘smear campaigns’ and avoiding its responsibilities in containing the disease. A spokesperson has suggested that the virus was planted in Wuhan by the US troops.

Beijing’s scathing new opinion piece was aired by China Central Television Station (CCTV) today.

It began by quoting Max Baucus, a former US ambassador to China, who likened the Trump Administration to the McCarthy government due to their ‘rhetoric against China’. Mr Baucus made the comments in an interview with CNN last week. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured on May 6) has said that there was ‘enormous evidence’ showing the coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, where the pandemic first emerged in December. China denied the allegation and called Pompeo ‘evil’ and ‘insane’

Zhao Lijian (pictured on February 24), a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has accused the US military of bringing the virus to Wuhan in a Twitter post

‘More than 70 years later, in order to exculpate their dereliction of duty in their resounding defeat of the controlling of the epidemic, certain American politicians who hold onto the Cold War mentality use China as the target again, attacking and smearing China crazily…’ the Chinese anchor read.

The CCTV commentary accused some American politicians of ‘openly resurrecting McCarthyism’, creating anti-China tensions and twisting the knowledge about China in the US society.

‘[They] are using all of their might to drag the US into a bigger disaster,’ it criticised.

The newsreader said China and the US should have been ‘comrades’ instead of ‘enemies’ on the counter-epidemic ‘battlefields’. 

‘Today, in the 21st century, the American people are allowing a minority of anti-China politicians to use their McCarthyism-style tricks, leading everyone to fear for their lives and harming others without benefiting oneself. It can only be said that it is the sorrow of the United States.’

Who was Senator Joseph McCarthy and what was McCarthyism?

Senator Joseph McCarthy, pictured, in 1954, held 36 days of televised hearings in an effort to uncover a secret communist plot to undermine the United States

Senator Joseph McCarthy started an anti-communist witch hunt after he delivered a Lincoln Day address in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950. 

McCarthy had been relatively anonymous during his period in the Senate following his election in 1946, until he claimed there was a secret plot by communists to overthrow US democracy. 

During his speech, McCarthy claimed he had a list of communists who had infiltrated the State Department with the aim of undermining US foreign policy. 

The Senate established a special committee to investigate McCarthy’s claims, but these were soon dismissed as ‘a fraud and a hoax’. 

Yet, when Kim Il-Sung launched his surprise attack on Seoul in June 1950, public opinion in the United States had shifted. 

Communist North Korean forces backed by Soviet fighter pilots surprised the US government. 

It was feared at the time that Korea was the first act in an attempted global communist takeover. 

This paranoia was fuelled by the conviction of State Department worker Alger Hiss, who was accused of passing secrets to a communist spy ring in the late 1940s.

In 1950, he was convicted of perjury, but this was enough to launch a second investigation. 

In 1952, McCarthy was re-elected to the Senate and was appointed chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he probed allegations of espionage and subversion. 

It culminated into televised hearings over the course of 36 days in 1954. The lack of evidence behind any of his claims destroyed the Wisconsin senator’s political career and resulted in him receiving an official rebuke.  

In total, some 2,000 US government employees lost their jobs as a result of the hearings and his investigations.  

The op-ed hinted that Beijing would not back down during the diplomatic dispute.

It said : ‘The Chinese nation has endured many hardships in history and has never been crushed. Instead [we] grew braver and braver, and rose in tribulations.

‘Chinese people didn’t grow up being intimidated. Any blackmail or threats won’t work.’

The commentary is the latest in a series of columns published by Chinese government organs or state media outlets to condemn the Trump administration.

On Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a lengthy rebuttal of what it said were 24 ‘lies’ by some leading US politicians over its handling of the crisis.

China and the US are locking horns in an intensifying diplomatic dispute over the coronavirus pandemic. US officials have claimed that China had withheld information about the new coronavirus and that it had originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured in 2017)

The Ministry has dedicated most of its press briefings over the past week to rejecting accusations by US politicians, especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that China had withheld information about the new coronavirus and that it had originated in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan.

A 30-page, 11,000-word article posted on the ministry website repeated and expanded on the refutations made during the press briefings, and began by invoking Abraham Lincoln, the 19th century US president.

‘As Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all the time and fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,’ it said in the prologue.

The article also cited media reports that said Americans had been infected with the virus before the first case was confirmed in Wuhan. There is no evidence to suggest that is the case.

China’s President Xi (pictured on March 10 in Wuhan) is facing widespread doubts that his government has covered up the true scale of the outbreak. An internal report has warned Beijing it faces Tiananmen-like global backlash and even ‘armed confrontation’ with the US

Keen to quash US suggestions that the virus was deliberately created or somehow leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the article said that all evidence shows the virus is not man-made and that the institute is not capable of synthesising a new coronavirus. 

The article also provided a timeline of how China had provided information to the international community in a ‘timely’, ‘open and transparent’ manner to rebuke US suggestions that it had been slow to sound the alarm.

Despite China’s repeated assurances, concerns about the timeliness of its information have persisted in some quarters.

Dr Li Wenliang, 34, died of the coronavirus in February after being punished for sounding the alarm over the outbreak. The police accused Dr Li and other medics of spreading fake news

The article rejected Western criticism of Beijing’s handling of the case of Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor who had tried to raise the alarm over the outbreak of the new virus in Wuhan. His death from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, prompted an outpouring of rage and grief across China.

It said Li was not a ‘whistle-blower’ and he was never arrested, contrary to many Western reports.

It did mention that the police reprimanded li for ‘spreading rumours’. Though Li was later named among ‘martyrs’ mourned by China, an investigation into his case also drew criticism online after it merely suggested the reprimand against him be withdrawn.

A bombshell report  in Der Spiegel claims Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) personally asked World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom  (left) to ‘delay a global warning’ about the threat of COVID-19 in January. The pair are pictured together in Beijing on January 28 of this year. Both China and the WHO have denied the allegation

Rejecting suggestions by US President Donald Trump and Pompeo that the new coronavirus should be called the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’, the article cited documents from the World Health Organization to say the name of a virus should not be country-specific.

A report by Der Spiegel magazine last Friday cited Germany’s BND spy agency as saying that China’s initial attempt to hold back information had cost the world four to six weeks that could have been used to fight the virus.

It also claimed that China’s president Xi Jinping ‘personally asked the WHO to hold back information about human-to-human transmission’.

The WHO released a statement shortly after the publication of the shock claims, calling them ‘unfounded and untrue’.

A spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the German newspaper of ‘spreading fake news’ during a press briefing on Monday.

Classified Chinese report warns of ‘armed confrontation’ between Beijing and Washington US, sources reveal 

Beijing could face a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into ‘armed confrontation’, an internal Chinese report has warned.

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

US President Donald Trump is pictured meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019

The report was drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.

Although the briefing paper remains disclosed, the content of the document was described to Reuters by people who had direct knowledge of its findings.

‘I don’t have relevant information,’ the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s office said in a statement responding to questions from Reuters on the report.

China’s Ministry of State Security has no public contact details and could not be reached for comment.

CICIR, an influential think tank that until 1980 was within the Ministry of State Security and advises the Chinese government on foreign and security policy, did not reply to a request for comment.

The Tiananmen Square crackdown is immortalised by the above picture called the ‘Tank Man’, which shows a student holding bags of grocers standing in front of a row of tanks to protest at the clampdown by the armies against its own people. The picture was taken by AP photographer Jeff Widener from a sixth-floor balcony of the Beijing Hotel near Tiananmen

But the presentation of the report shows how seriously Beijing takes the threat of a building backlash that could threaten what China sees as its strategic investments overseas and its view of its security standing, according to Reuters.

Relations between China and the United States are widely seen to be at their worst point in decades, with deepening mistrust and friction points from US allegations of unfair trade and technology practices to disputes over Hong Kong, Taiwan and contested territories in the South China Sea.

In recent days, US President Donald Trump, facing a more difficult re-election campaign as the coronavirus has claimed tens of thousands of American lives and ravaged the US economy, has been ramping up his criticism of Beijing and threatening new tariffs on China. His administration, meanwhile, is considering retaliatory measures against China over the outbreak, officials said.

It is widely believed in Beijing that the United States wants to contain a rising China, which has become more assertive globally as its economy has grown.

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Brits are struggling to work out what to do within coronavirus guidelines – The Sun

MILLIONS of Brits are still confused about the advice and guidance around coronavirus.

A poll of 2,000 adults found as the nation is forced to adapt to a new way of living, 46 per cent admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice they have been hearing.

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And a further 29 per cent have struggled to keep up to date with the ever-changing situation.

The UK is about to go into its sixth week of lockdown, but three in 10 still aren’t fully confident about the guidance and recommendations around it.

Most concerning, 30 percent are confused about what they should and shouldn’t take to relieve any symptoms associated with COVID-19, and two in five have experienced 'contradictory' advice.

Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer of RB Health, makers of Nurofen and Lemsip, which commissioned the research, said: “Given the unprecedented nature of the current situation we are most certainly seeing an 'infodemic' in parallel with the pandemic.

“At best this means there is confusion around what advice to listen to and at worst it means people acting on the wrong advice; changing medication when there's no need or even avoiding self-care.

“Normally emerging science is filtered, peer reviewed and less reactive, but unfortunately due to the sheer volume of information and the desire to get news out quickly there has been a lot of contradictory advice emerging.”

The study also found 30 per cent are confused about whether they can take Ibuprofen for potential symptoms of the virus such as a fever or a headache.

An eighth even admitted they have avoided treating everyday pain during the pandemic, which resulted in it getting worse.



This includes 23 per cent ignoring a sore throat, a third with headaches and 23 per cent brushing aside a fever.

For advice, 45 per cent have looked at the NHS website, with 12 per cent checking for updates daily and 18 per cent doing so at least a few times a week.

Only a tenth have spoken to their doctor for information – with more have turned to social media (12 per cent) and search engines (16 per cent) for an answer.

A further quarter have opted for official government websites and 36 per cent watch TV news channels for advice.

Worryingly, one in six believe ‘most things’ they read on social media about coronavirus.

But 41 per cent feel no one really knows what is right and wrong yet because it’s too early to tell.

Of those polled, 30 per cent were parents and three in 10 of them admitted they are overwhelmed by guidance surrounding the best treatment if their child was to exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.

And a fifth of mums and dads said there is too much contradicting information around treating children.

It also emerged 44 per cent feel worried about the current pandemic while a third are nervous and 46 per cent feel anxious.

During this time, two fifths are taking more care of their health and self-care in general, with 36 per cent taking vitamins, 64 per cent getting fresh air and 55 per cent doing more exercise.

More than a quarter of those surveyed, via OnePoll, are even looking after their skin and 40 per cent are getting more sleep.

Bruce added: “I would encourage people to think carefully about the credibility of information and to always question the source.

“People should check the validity of information, particularly in regard to health, before acting on it or amplifying it through social media and other channels.  "We can all play our part in filtering out the noise and bad advice.

"We would always recommend people speak to a healthcare professional if they have specific questions.

"Everyone deserves to feel confident about self-care, and those of us in positions of scientific and medical influence need to help people with this."

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Cleaners risk health to work during coronavirus pandemic, then lose jobs

US economy can’t wait for a coronavirus vaccine: Expert

District Media Group president Beverly Hallberg says Americans are concerned about their local small businesses because they are the backbone of towns and cities throughout the United States.

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Lissette Serrano asked for a mask while she did her job cleaning toilets and picking up trash at a busy rest stop on a Connecticut parkway. She was told there were none.

Soon after, Serrano came down with coronavirus symptoms and was told by a nurse to isolate for 14 days. When she told her boss she could not leave home, Serrano said, she was fired.


“She had said, ’That’s just an excuse, you don’t want to go to work,” the 49-year-old Serrano, speaking through a translator, said in Spanish of her employer. “This is not an excuse.”

Serrano is one of about 3,000 cleaners in New York’s Hudson Valley and Connecticut’s Fairfield County who belong to the Service Employees International Union, make just over $16 an hour and in the past couple of months put themselves in harm’s way to disinfect offices, train stations and other public areas with little protective equipment, said Alberto Bernardez, a union district leader.


Many, like Serrano, lost their jobs when buildings closed or when they were forced to stay home with COVID-19 symptoms, he said.

Lissette Serrano sorts her laundry while doing her daily chores at home in Bridgeport, Conn., after being let go from her job as a cleaner at a rest stop on the Merritt Parkway in Orange, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

About 80% of the cleaners are immigrants, mostly Hispanic. Many cannot access unemployment benefits, even though they pay taxes, because they are living in the country without legal permission.

“Right now people are having to choose between feeding themselves and their family or going to work sick and putting their lives in jeopardy and putting others at risk,” he said.

Serrano’s husband is still working at a box factory, but they need the money from her job to help pay the bills and take care of her 12-year-old daughter. She’s not sure what they will do now.


“I’m so scared,” she said.

So is Janeth Baldeon, a 35-year-old janitorial worker who lives in White Plains, New York, with her father and her partner and their two children, a 6-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.

The Peruvian immigrant and her father were both laid off from their jobs with a cleaning contractor.

They had been working at a biotech company, Acorda Therapeutics, in Ardsley, New York, when the offices shut down late last month.


Baldeon said she never felt unsafe on the job and believed she was doing something important to keep the virus from spreading.

“They made sure we had appropriate gloves and we knew how to utilize them,” she said. “Masks weren’t very common yet, but we felt that with the gloves we had some level of protection.”

Lissette Serrano makes her bed while doing her daily chores at home in Bridgeport, Conn., after being let go from her job as a cleaner. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Baldeon is not sure if or when she will get her job back. Her health insurance runs out in a month. She won’t be able to go back unless schools and day care centers reopen.

She said her co-workers and the immigrant community have banded together to help one another with necessities.

She hopes to get paid for accumulated vacation days and sick days, but her last check included just one day’s pay — the day she was laid off.

“At this moment, I haven’t really been at a loss for food,” she said. “I thank the Lord. I wake up. I just see what needs to be done that day. I’m at home with the children and I just get through the day, day by day."


Isabel Herrera, 41, of Bridgeport, is still waiting for unemployment benefits after being laid off last month from the Hilton Garden Inn in Norwalk.

An immigrant from Honduras, she has a work permit and is the only breadwinner for her 18- and 10-year-old children.

Her landlord has offered to defer her rent payments until she gets back to work. The family is living on donated food and the meals Bridgeport schools are supplying the children, even though the schools remain closed.

“It has affected us just as much emotionally as economically, because it is difficult to get up, go to your kitchen and see that there is no food,” she said in Spanish through a translator.

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They Work Inside Target Stores. They Don’t Get The Same Coronavirus Protections As Target Employees.

A Target employee stands at a register in front of a display of flatscreen televisions at a Target Corp. store in Chicago, Illinois, on November 16, 2019.

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Thousands of people work inside Target stores across America under a program known as “Target Tech.” But Target doesn’t employ these workers directly — the retail giant goes through an outsourcing firm, MarketSource, instead. And during the coronavirus pandemic, MarketSource plays by different rules.

While regular Target employees get paid leave for coronavirus, with vulnerable staff able to take up to 30 days as a precaution, “Target Tech” workers who have needed to quarantine have received no pay, and were told they risked losing their jobs if they stayed home for too long. Target Tech workers continue to peddle cell phone plans and troubleshoot misfiring electronics in person, something other leading technology retailers backed away from weeks ago to help stop the spread of the virus. And they have faced pressure from MarketSource bosses to interact with customers and boost sales, internal communications obtained by BuzzFeed News from employees around the country show.

“We are at an advantage as a result of competitors being closed,” a district manager recently wrote to employees. “Let’s not forget what we are here to do – Engage EVERY guest with a mobile conversation EVERY time!”

More than 3,000 Target Tech employees work in over 1,000 Target stores in close contact with customers, many of whom are senior citizens, who run the highest risk of dying from the coronavirus. Several told BuzzFeed News they are afraid to come into work but feel that they have little choice. One employee said that when she tried to extend her unpaid quarantine, her manager told her she had to return to work or resign — even after she provided a doctor’s note saying her life was at risk because of pre-existing health conditions.

MarketSource is owned by Allegis Group, which made $13.4 billion in revenue in 2018.

A MarketSource spokesperson said the health and safety of its employees was its top priority. The company now gives two weeks of paid leave to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or lives with someone who has tested positive, the spokesperson said. She did not say when this policy change was made, and one executive and two salespeople told BuzzFeed News they were unaware that the policy existed. Target’s policy does not require a test — an important distinction given testing delays and shortages nationwide.

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MarketSource has also “partnered” with Target to allow Target Tech workers to use personal protective equipment set aside for regular employees, the spokesperson said. Target Tech workers experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 have been told they should stay home. “It is important to note that we do not condone or tolerate any pressure put on employees to report to work if they feel uncomfortable doing so,” she said.

Target, the eighth largest retailer in the U.S., declined to comment except to say its top priority “is the health and safety of our team, guests and partners” and that it regularly updates partners such as MarketSource with information about government guidelines and its own policies pertaining to COVID-19.

While many Americans stay at home, workers at companies selling essential supplies keep coming into work. Retail workers in consumer electronics and technology are considered essential to infrastructure, but Apple, Verizon, TMobile, and Sprint have still shut all or most of their brick and mortar stores to protect customers and staff.

Target Tech staffers’ work can largely be done online, employees told BuzzFeed News. The only exceptions are in-store activations and support visits — but people can activate their phones at home and get items shipped to them directly. Yet Target Tech employees are still required to report for their scheduled shifts, even in areas where MarketSource personnel are under medically-advised quarantine for having flu-like symptoms, he said. District managers within the program continue to make store visits, often spanning areas that cross state lines.

Do you have a story to tell about frontline workers during the coronavirus? We’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected] or reach out via one of our tip line channels.

The MarketSource spokesperson denied employees’ assertions that the in-store services they provide could be accomplished remotely, although she declined to provide any examples of those essential services.

The “ability to connect with others is a critical aspect to many at this time,” the spokesperson said.

While MarketSource has offered some additional support in recent weeks, their policies fall behind Target’s — for example, Target Tech employees were told they’d receive an extra dollar per hour of hazard pay only after Target employees began to receive two dollars per hour. After BuzzFeed News reached out to MarketSource for comment, Target Tech workers learned that this would be increased to $1.50 extra per hour.

Even after Target announced it would pay workers in quarantine in mid-March, MarketSource held firm. “All employees are expected to report to work,” MarketSource Human Resources wrote to one person who posted their email on Twitter on March 18. “If the employee does not report the employee WILL NOT be paid.”

The MarketSource spokesperson said “eligible” employees are allowed to use accrued paid time off if they need to stay home and quarantine. But MarketSource salespeople — the ones worried for their safety — don’t receive any paid time off at all, internal records show. One employee said she didn’t even know that she was allowed to take time off without pay until she told her manager she was worried about COVID-19 because she has asthma, and her manager gave her that option.

“My company has had absolutely nothing in place, and instead in multiple emails directed us to follow Target’s leadership, while we’ve been largely ignored and left out of the loop because we’re not actual Target employees,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I can’t afford to take two weeks off without pay — not that this will be over in two weeks anyway — but I also don’t like my odds at making it if I do get sick, because some idiot isn’t social distancing and is coming out just to upgrade their perfectly fine working phone.”

Another employee, who said she felt ill and was worried about infecting her child, only learned she could self-quarantine after speaking with coworkers and reaching out to regional management to inquire. When she did so, the manager demanded to know who told her that self-quarantine was available, she said, and told her this was a one-time offer.

“He said, ‘Just so you know you can only do this once,” she told BuzzFeed News. “‘Even if you catch COVID-19 you can’t take out again.’”

The employee tried to extend her quarantine with a physician’s note, reviewed by BuzzFeed News, which said, owing to pre-existing health conditions, were she to contract COVID-19, it would likely prove fatal. The manager told her she still had to report to work, she said. Her only other option was to resign, she said he told her while reassuring her that she could collect unemployment. She saw no documentation describing those terms. U.S. Employees who voluntarily quit jobs are not usually able to collect unemployment.

“If I don’t show up tomorrow, I’ll be terminated,” she told BuzzFeed News. “They don’t care about your health.” She is now back at work. Target is now reminding customers to practice social distancing over loudspeakers, she said, and she’s allowed to use a mask and gloves to handle customers’ phones, but customers are still coming closer to her than the recommended six feet.

Documents show that even as the pandemic worsened, MarketSource managers kept up pressure on Target Tech employees to interact with customers and land sales.

On March 15, days after President Trump declared a national emergency, one manager gave some oddly timed sales advice: Grab a pair of gloves and offer free phone cleanings to potential clients.

“Everyone always forgets how much they use these things without cleaning them!” he wrote.

It feels impossible to practice social distancing for Target Tech, said one employee, because most of her customers are over 50 and need patient and attentive assistance. “It sometimes takes fifteen minutes just to get a guest to understand that just because their new smart phone screen is black doesn’t mean it’s broken or dead,” she said.

An east village Target store displays a sign in its winow informing customers that they do not provide COVID-19 tests and where a priority line starts for elderly (at risk) and pregnant customers to enter, New York, NY, March 29, 2020.

On March 25, a district manager wrote that after “a tough day yesterday in our rankings,” employees needed to work harder and interact with customers more.

“Engage every guest with a mobile conversation,” he wrote. “If there was ever a time that you have something to talk about with guests, that time is now.”

Similar messages continued throughout the month and into April. “The commitment that we have all made is that NO store will end a week with a zero. This should be even easier since most of our competitors are shut down,” the manager wrote on March 31. “Get in front of EVERY guest shopping for Apple products (Selling AppleCare), any mobile accessories, and MAKE SURE WE ARE NOT BEING OUTSOLD BY TARGET in things we make commission for!”

As of April 7, 42 US states had issued stay-at-home orders. The same day, a senior director at MarketSource’s corporate headquarters messaged all Target Tech employees reminding them that pre-paid phone plans, which can be activated online, were still available for sale and activation in MarketSource-staffed Target Tech locations. “If you are being told otherwise, please contact your district manager and provide specifics around the direction you’re receiving from in store leadership,” he wrote. “MarketSource stores are ‘business as usual’ for all carriers, all brands, and all Prepaid devices.”

The MarketSource spokesperson said the company is “being very responsive during this unprecedented, rapidly evolving situation and not currently operating as ‘business as usual.’”

A MarketSource executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, told BuzzFeed News that Target is the company’s most important client. As a result, MarketSource higher-ups have been reluctant to do anything that might hinder sales, he said. “They’re doing everything possible to keep it going, whatever the cost.”

More on this

  • These Walmart Employees Are Scared For Their Lives Working Through The Coronavirus PandemicAddy Baird · April 8, 2020
  • Starbucks Employees Got Sick. Starbucks Stores Stayed Open.Albert Samaha · March 26, 2020
  • These Retailers Have Been Staying Open. Employees Say They’re Afraid For Themselves And Others.Albert Samaha · March 18, 2020

  • Katie Baker is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Katie J.M. Baker at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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Where I Work: Amy, a fashion buyer and business owner working from home

Where I Work is a new daily series taking a look at people’s home office setups as coronavirus makes more of us work from home.

We’ve gone inside a home office on a houseboat, seen how a working mum has set up her daughter with a mini desk of her own, and met a barefoot athlete who has no chairs in his home.

This time around we’re looking at the desk area of mum-of-two Amy, who’s working from her home in Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire.

Amy was a fashion buyer for a high street retailer for 13 years before being made redundant when the brand she worked for moved to Dublin.

She started up her own freelance business, @The.Fashion.Buying.Consultant, as well as launching a baby and kids’ sleepwear brand, Little Woodlands, and works both jobs throughout the week – and now from home since the lockdown came into place.

Hey, Amy. Tell us about yourself!

I’m 36, mum to Molly, four, and Jack, two. I was over the stress of corporate 9-5 life and wanted something with more flexibility that fitted in with my family life.

With Molly starting school and as she is the youngest girl in her year, I wanted to be a mum who could drop her off & pick her up. Not the mum who left home before the kids woke up & got home just in time for bed five days a week.

With all that buying experience under my belt I knew I could offer suppliers my expertise in helping them curate & sell commercial fashion ranges back to the high street, as I know what buyers are looking for. So I contacted a few of my favourite most trusted suppliers am am now working freelance at home 3 days a week for an Indian supplier.

I also run a small baby & kids sleepwear brand called Little Woodlands, which I started up whilst on maternity leave with Jack to keep my creative brain flowing.

I mix my two jobs throughout the week depending on the demands of each.

I live and work at home in our semi-detached 1960s house with my husband, children and border terrier called Benni.

How has coronavirus affected your work?

With the outbreak of Covid-19 all the markets have been cancelled, my New York and Los Angeles shopping trips have been postponed, trips to visit buyers cancelled.

It’s a very worring time for freelancers at the moment.

Luckily I was able to visit Barcelona and Paris to do the shops just before they locked Europe down so at least we have some inspiration to work on for next SS21.

What’s your working-from-home space like?

I chose a white desk with wooden feet that I found on La Redoute. The black and white rug is also La Redoute, wicker storage baskets from Ikea & Ollie Ella.

I wanted to keep the area clutter-free and full of greenery to keep me calm on stressful days.

I keep all the samples in stacked white boxes from Ikea. Recently I brought some beautiful wall hangings from Wonder & Rah, Never Perfect Studio & Native State, I try to support small independent businesses as much as I can, being one myself.

Talk us through a working day.

On days I work for my fashion buying consultancy I usually start work around 10am, checking emails, liaising with colleagues, checking trend forecasting websites, doing admin.

If we have been away on inspirational shopping trips I have to create trip reports so they may involve photographing samples & pulling trends together.

When I work for Little Woodlands I will be on social media usually doing a post by 7.30am as this is a key time for parents to be checking their phones.

I update the website, do mini photoshoots, edit images, in the afternoon I wrap and pack parcels to take to the post office.

Keeping on top off stock is a huge task, I’m currently in the middle of a huge stock count so I can work out how much money I have tied up in the business.

Have you come up against any challenges working from home?

Lunchtime is now spent sorting out or putting on washing instead of going to lunch with colleges. I love the flexibility of working from home but do miss the office banter as it can be quite lonely working from home

I think keeping focused has been a challenge as its easy to get distracted by things that need doing around the house. My phone is a constant distraction with social media and now Covid-19.

I try to limit myself to looking at my phone just a few hours a day.

What advice do you have for people new to working from home?

Make sure that you get yourself up and dressed like you are going to work, working in pyjamas makes you less productive.

Just because you are working from home does not mean that you have to do all the housework as well – when you are at home working you should be working not feeling guilty about the housework that needs doing. My husband and I share out everything 50/50.

It’s important to create a space for yourself where you can get some headspace & focus on work.

Do you have a working space you fancy sharing? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.

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