What is it Like to Work During a Pandemic?

Jenna Lubahn snaps a quick selfie with essential worker Mackensie Hamstra before leaving Meijer.

Jenna Lubahn snaps a quick selfie with essential worker Mackensie Hamstra before leaving Meijer.

Reagan Morse

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is changing nearly every aspect of American life. These challenges are having economic effects all across the country as thousands of Americans unexpectedly find themselves out of work. Others, including some students here at CHS, are still working harder than ever during this difficult time.

States are also restricting access to dining restaurants, theaters, concerts, retail stores and other non-essential businesses where large groups of people risk coming into contact with one another. On the other hand, businesses deemed essential are still open amidst the pandemic. Although essential workers are fortunate to continue making an income, COVID-19 has brought an unusual and unconventional approach to the way they do their jobs. 

“I’ve worked here [ at Wendy’s] for three years and I have never seen it this busy before. I am emotionally and physically exhausted after each shift,” senior Alyssa Elam explained. “Also, we are experiencing a national beef shortage which means we run out of burgers about every other day. We deal with angry people because of it.” 

On the contrary, other students have had positive experiences with adjusting to the new “normal”. ShaiLi Ashby, a senior who works at both Chick-Fil-A and Tropical Smoothie Cafe describes her experience as productive and fulfilling. 

“I honestly think customers are much more excited or happy now, just because they are able to go out and do something”, ShaiLi claimed. 

Most businesses ask that customers wear masks and keep a six foot distance from others. Some have even installed Plexiglass between the registers to protect their workers. Safety measures like these have been taken to help stop the spread of the virus. Though it may make some work tasks difficult, it is for the health and benefit of all.  Autumn Hannink, a Certified Nursing Assistant who works in a nursing home explained, “We are taking all necessary precautions at this time. It’s scary and hard to imagine what would happen if one of our residents were to get sick.”

No one would have ever expected an outbreak like this to affect the economy and workforce so dramatically. As this hopefully pushes closer to an end, there are plenty of ways the community can express gratitude for the people who risk their lives everyday to support that very community.