On the front lines: student workers support communities


Photo by and used with permission of Jill Pickett

Many grocery store workers have had to adjust to the new changes of masks, gloves and protective barriers between customers as additional measures to keep customers and workers safe.

Alexandra Rauchfuss, Staff Writer

When Cassidy Cwiertnia, senior, took a job at Mariano’s, about five months ago, she never considered her job essential to anyone but herself. Her part-time job was just a way to make some money, but now she finds herself on the front lines with other essential workers who are trying to keep Americans supplied during the current pandemic.

“I went from working mostly nights at about 20 hours a week to working eight hours a day at about 40 hours a week,” Cwiertnia said. “It is exhausting and the people have gotten ruder as they have gotten more afraid. The rudest of the bunch are the instacart people.”  

Across the nation, businesses are implementing safety precautions, such as protective masks/face coverings, gloves, and additional cleaning measures. According to the CDC, the best ways to prevent getting sick are to wash your hands often, stay at least 6 feet apart from other people, and to wear a mask or face covering when around others.

“Now all of the workers are required to wear a mask and gloves,” Cwiertnia said. “It makes it hard to breathe, especially when you are working 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.” 

Aman Patel, junior, who is working at Walmart, is also experiencing the effects of working during the pandemic. 

“I don’t think that it is that bad having to work during this time, but I have to make sure that I am being more careful,” Patel said. “There have been lots of changes at work, such as we are required to wear protective masks and gloves during every shift.” 

Although Covid-19 has many people scared to go to work, out of fear of getting sick, Patel said, “As long as I follow all the protocols, I am not scared to go to work because I know these changes are trying to keep people safe.”