working during pandemic 4/16

On March 22, Ohio Gov. DeWine enacted a stay at home order, which led Biggby Coffee in Defiance, Ohio to close their dining room doors and continue to work as a drive-thru only store.

I had been offered a handful of hours from Biggby Coffee during spring break, where I have worked for three years. I only expected to work for a week and would come back to Bowling Green the next week.

BGSU has since closed their residence halls and students have moved home.

My online classes are not as flexible as I thought they would be, but I have enabled myself to do homework in a consistent time frame, allowing me to continue to work.

I have continued to work during a very uncertain time. Like many others in my position, we go to work thankful we have a job but scared at the thought of catching COVID-19 from a customer.

DeWine’s announcements created anxiety and paranoia in me the first few weeks that he began to enact measures. I knew I was safer for having them, but I hated not having the normal control of my everyday life.

Sanitization has become key as the drive-thru worker is unable to help with drinks and wears gloves. The baristas making the drinks must make sure they are washing their hands frequently and cannot handle money. Before, the closing shift would make sure every aspect of the store was sanitized. Now, every shift must sanitize.

There are days where I’m washing my hands raw without any lotion in sight. I get paranoid I’ll catch the virus or have the potential of spreading it to my family at home. I worry about my coworkers and the potential of giving a stranger COVID-19.

Being a barista during this time has had bright moments though.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should stay at home as much as they can. I’m also a huge advocate for mental health though. I believe that many people who are leaving the house to grab a coffee need to get outside and find a little bit of normalcy, even if it’s just to buy a coffee.

Regular customers and hospital workers have both expressed their gratitude to Biggby Coffee for continuing to be open during an uncertain time.

Out of the people continuing to work, I know I am not the most essential.

COVID-19 continues to evolve and each day is different with signs it could potentially hurt young people more than previously thought.

For now, I remain healthy. As long as Biggby Coffee stays open, I will continue to provide a touch of normalcy in an uncertain time.

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