Sharing my experience as an essential worker



The global pandemic of the coronavirus has invoked immense fear in the essential workers who are at risk of catching and spreading the virus. At the beginning of the pandemic and over spring break, I had to go to work because Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is considered an essential business. As I went into work, I was scared about whether the safety precautions were efficient enough to keep us workers safe. The glove usage and different safety precautions instilled made me feel safe, but at the same time whenever someone would come to the window, I had a lingering apprehension if the person I was serving was exposed to the virus at some point.

My manager and the shift leads at Jeremiah’s were incredibly diligent about following the new rules and protocols that the CDC gave them and they lessened the worry of getting the virus myself. But as Seminole County and the state of Florida decided to go under lockdown, I decided to give up my shifts to the college students that needed to work to survive.

After talking to many of my college coworkers, I found out that many of their close friends are out of jobs due to the closure of restaurants and bars, making them struggle to come up with enough money for rent. I was more than happy to give up my shifts for those who needed them because I can’t imagine worrying about rent or food.

The spread of the virus has also put many health workers at risk and that has affected my family personally. My uncle is a nephrologist and ICU specialist in Chicago. Although the virus doesn’t have very much to do with the kidneys, but it’s the fact that many of the virus patients are put in the ICU that scares us.

My family is incredibly scared for my uncle as many hospitals are ill prepared for the virus. I can’t imagine having a loved one contract the virus just because the United States did not think that the virus was a big enough threat. Knowing that someone in my life is willing to put their life on the line demonstrates bravery, which is the reason why my family and I are in self-quarantine.