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What is it like to live the life of a teenage essential worker during the pandemic?

Essential workers were relied on to keep Buffalo running during the COVID-19 pandemic

In mid-March last year, many companies were transitioning to working at home, students were learning from home, food service and small businesses were closing, not knowing when they would be able to open again. It was a scary time for many people, and for some, it still is. One of the scariest things at this time was continuing to go to work everyday, especially when we didn’t know much about the virus and what it could potentially do. The hoofprint interviewed an essential worker who was working in the grocery industry throughout the pandemic.

Q: What was it like working when supply was selling out?

A: It was really weird to walk around in the store that you work in everyday and just see empty isles. We hardly had toilet paper ever but it was also canned goods and bread and so many different things. And then we also did not get much of it because there was a nationwide shortage.

Q: Did anything have to change for you to continue going to work?

A: We all had to wear masks obviously and cleaning procedures were way different, a lot more intense so we had a designated cleaner of the store that would walk around and would all day just wipe things down. We also had a cart cleaner so they would do the same thing, just clean carts the entire shift. We had to quarantine clothing returns for 72 hours I think, so we had a back room just for that.

Q: Did you consider quitting at any point?

A: Not really, circumstances changed in my home so I couldn’t be around my baby brother so that was a point when I thought I really don’t like doing this at all, staying away from people that you really love is hard.

Q: Why did you choose not to?

A: Ultimately I thought it was important for me to take advantage of that situation and turn it into something positive, a way for me to make money and learn from my job.

Q: Did Target do anything to protect their employees?

A: Yes, we had lots of cleaning procedures and if you had any symptoms right away they wanted you to just stay home for the whole quarantining period which was 14 days still back then. Cause you know tests weren’t always available so if you didn’t feel very good they told you just stay home. Everyone had to be masked up and hand sanitizer was everywhere so I think Target did a pretty good job.

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