Frontline employees have been dedicating their life trying to make these trying times as normal as possible for the past couple of months. Some worry about the risks of contamination.
Police Officer David Welde, age 48, who works for the City of Tustin, tries to provide peace during this pandemic and stop the spread of panic.
While hours haven’t changed much for his division, job positions have had a turn of events. From not only patrolling the city, he has also been giving the duty of security at Costco and Sam’s Club.
“I’m just here to make sure everyone is getting what they deem as necessary in a peaceful manner without shoving or fighting. Never did I see myself working in front of Costco but when the time is needed seems essential,” said Officer Welde.
Welde explains that his job has always been essential, that no matter what in his field of work he may be in danger and that is always what he has signed for.
While some workers have no choice but to work, some companies give their employees an opportunity to come back when things start to wind down.
Kevin Peterson, a 29 year old flight attendant working for major US airline, Delta, said with COVID spreading so quickly he felt helpless at work.
Peterson states he’s never lived through a pandemic, but will always change the way he works from now on to always be more aware of others and his coworkers.
“How can we be the forefront if we cannot protect ourselves before protecting others?” asked Peterson. “I remember the pilots would get gloves and wipes before we did. It didn’t make sense. It’s only them two up there while we’re stuck in the back helpless with not enough supplies.”
Peterson confirms that flight attendants are allowed to wear masks, but gloves and wet wipes are still in shortage.
“The scariest part though is that when a flight ends,” said Peterson. “The cleaners are coming on board fumigating the aircraft with whatever chemical it is that they’re spraying.”
He explains that even with the virus in the air the addition to more chemicals are fumigating his work environment.
Peterson stated, “My job gave employees the chance to have a leave of absence with a chance for unemployment benefits or continue working under certain protocols. When we first heard of the pandemic, obviously we were all scared. We’re stuck in a metal tube filled with hundreds of people, multiple flights a day.”
Peterson says he and his coworkers hoped the aviation industry would have just shut down momentarily.
“But because we are ‘essential workers’ the show must go on. I cannot tell you the name of my airline, however, I know that for us, if we are still choosing to fly and work trips, we keep our benefits as normal,” explained Peterson.
He says it is “a scary time to be exposing yourself,” throughout airports, inside cars, and in and out of hotel rooms for trip layovers.
“I just hope that we aren’t furloughed when we get back from that leave,” Peterson stated.
With nearly 22 million US citizens without unemployment some job positions rose hourly wages for essential workers keeping their business running.
Gas Station cashier, 22, Maria Reyes for Chevron in Corona, explains how her company looked out for her during this pandemic.
“During this time, work has been really slow,” Reyes said. “We still have customers coming to get gas, but they mostly pay outside. Our hours have decreased because of this but we did get a $2.00 appreciation pay increase.”
Reyes further spoke on how her company took the steps for her protection. While always thinking of her family, she continues to have concerns about who may come into her work.
“My company has provided us with gloves. We disinfect the door handles every thirty minutes and the counters, pin pads, and gas pumps as well,” stated Reyes .
The Chevron representatives added plastic shields in front of the counters, posted signs asking that all customers come in with a face mask.
“Yet many don’t. We are not allowed to refuse service to any of these people or ask them to leave,” explained Reyes.
While some may be scared of contamination from others while working, there are many workers that need to work for food on their table.
Paige Alvarez, 25, a to-go worker at Cheesecake Factory in Brea speaks about her compassion for many of her coworkers unable to work due to hour cuts.
“Others aren’t as fortunate,” Alvarez said. “The company’s changed by having more rules with the staff and the way we do our job.”
Alvarez explains others in the restaurant business don’t have opportunities as she has with her company. She is thankful now for being able to support her family who doesn’t have the opportunity to work during these times.
“It’s for the better, I guess,” added Alvarez. “The first change was when I saw I was scheduled every day that week but technically only able to go to two shifts because of COVID. I was depressed for a while.”