The new appreciation of previously dismissed types of work may be short lived, and their ongoing fight for a living wage is certainly not won. However, this crisis has opened a space in which broader conversations about the value of the work of someone like Rose may become unavoidable. If the lessons of these hotels are to be translated to national politics, it is that we cannot afford to return to the pre-COVID economy that tolerated people like Rose not receiving a living wage and rough sleepers lining Auckland Queen Street while warm rooms and homes sit empty.
Differing approaches to COVID-19 divided by the rolling hills and windy roads (of which there are many) of one of Europe’s most porous borders, have precipitated a personal sense of panic. To move, to cross at that moment would be to transit between contrasting regimes of existential risk, from caution to putative disregard. It has been hard to bear.