Pandemic Essentials: Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer, Chicken Strips

Alyssa Greer, Journalist

Junior, Camryn Watkins, and senior, Carter Leavitt, both students from Shadow Ridge, were working essential jobs at Chick-fil-A this past summer during the pandemic. Having a job is hard work for anyone, but it’s especially hard this year with the stress of the coronavirus. 

Naturally, businesses, like the fast food establishment Watkins and Leavitt worked at, needed to take extra precautions with the spread of the virus, to keep both customers and employees safe.

Leavitt felt confident in the safety measures his workplace had established before the actual spread of the virus occurred.

 “My Chick-fil-A actually opened a couple days after the pandemic hit so we started out by wearing our masks, wearing gloves, and regularly washing our hands.”

Watkins also explained the strict hygiene and safety measures taken for her work.

“We had to wear gloves at all times, masks and/or face shields,” says Watkins. “We were to wash our hands every 30 minutes.”

A very important factor for working in fast food, and countless jobs in general, is the customer interaction. Customers can make an employee’s day, or ruin their week. During the stress of the pandemic, customers can often get much more anxious through these interactions. For this reason, working could instantly become increasingly difficult.

Leavitt expressed that while customers were anxious, their workplace exchange was usually the most interaction a customer would get while in quarantine.

“People were and still are cautious when they come through, but we were usually their only interaction outside of quarantine.”

Watkins also elaborated on her experience with customers during the pandemic by saying, “Some of them were great! A lot of them were just plain rude.”

Most importantly, it is also critical to take into account the stress and mental health of employees. No matter how physically healthy employees may be, there is always the concern of their mental state.

Customers can be difficult to deal with, especially when they are incredibly anxious. 

Watkins expressed how this impacted her, saying, “I was only stressed when our customers would freak out. I really dreaded going there some days.”

While many others have negative experiences while working in such a stressful time, days in the workplace helped Leavitt mentally during quarantine. 

“It was really nice to have a daily human interaction with my coworkers and guests, so I never really felt too isolated during the shut down.”

Jobs can be a source of great stress. People should appreciate the essential workers more, especially when they are trying to do their best during the pandemic.