Working With Care

Students navigate health requirements on the job


Photo by Madison Gonzales

Emarie Wachsmann, 12, organizes cutlery at Steven’s Garden and Grill.

Sembree Yeary, Personality Editor

As the impact of COVID-19 began to flood the news and people became aware of the seriousness, businesses and schools all over the country began to shut down. Amongst the closures, senior Alejandra Olvera received a message from her boss not to return to the restaurant, Hideout Burgers, for several weeks until they announced a plan for restaurants in the pandemic.

“I started working at the restaurant in May of last year. When the school announced that we weren’t going back for another week after spring break, my boss let me know because of corona they were only doing to go orders,” Olvera said. “The week turned into about two months of me not working and I didn’t know I could file for unemployment.”

Students experienced job loss as restaurants and other places of business laid them off. However, others were able to earn jobs when businesses reopened. Senior Emarie Wachsmann started her job as a waitress at Steven’s Garden Grill in May as restrictions on dining out eased and more people went out after quarantine. 

“I’m honestly blessed to be working, but it’s scary seeing so many people and customers not care about protocols,” Wachsmann said. “I wish customers would be more understanding and actually follow the rules that have been put in place.” 

Steven’s Garden Grill requires customers to wear masks upon entry of the building, per the governor’s mask mandate, but the restaurant does not strictly enforce it. Even so, the customers remove the mask immediately after they are seated.

It’s really not worth it, and most people hate the guidelines anyways, so they should just stay home if they don’t care about the health of others.”

— Emarie Wachsmann

“It’s really not worth it, and most people hate the guidelines anyways, so they should just stay home if they don’t care about the health of others.”

Restaurant workers cite numerous faults in the industry of proactiveness during the pandemic that they notice but customers do not realize they are vulnerable. Dine-in restaurants bring a higher chance of contamination as the cleanliness of the area depends on the restaurant staff.

The sanitation didn’t change much from before like it should have during a pandemic and working during the pandemic overall just made me feel nervous,” Olvera said. “Customers don’t know when employees wash their hands or if they actually use masks in the back or if we really sanitize. Many customers come in trusting that all precautions are being taken.”

Similarly, Wachsmann believes the health of the workers should be taken more seriously by customers and employers alike.

“My workplace is trying their hardest but they aren’t doing the best at safety precautions. They don’t take temperatures, they don’t make people quarantine after getting back from vacation, they don’t even know I’m immune compromised,” Wachsmann said.