COVID-19 continues to affect those who work

While vaccinations are rolling out throughout America, many communities are still struggling with the effects of the pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs and many more have had their regular work-life completely change.

 “I work at Crate and Barrel in Gurnee. There’s a lot of precautions we have to take at work to stay safe. Everyone who comes in has to wear a mask. All of the employees have to wear masks. We disinfect surfaces that get touched regularly like the counters and keypad,” said junior Daniel Broege. 

In the state of Illinois, there are strict guidelines businesses have to follow to remain open, but over time these restrictions have loosened and each business has had some control over how to handle COVID-19.

 “I work at the Hillcrest Nursing Center in Round Lake. COVID has affected my job in many ways, and many lives have been lost throughout this pandemic. We closed down completely and have taken extra safety and health precautions to prevent the spread of any virus or bacteria,” said senior Camila Arroyo. 

As many rules and regulations as there have been for quite some time now, some people still refuse to adhere to them and put others’ lives at risk. 

   “There’s been a few times I’ve felt unsafe at work. We do have a mask policy, but there have been people who refused to wear them, and one time there was even a guy who screamed at us with his mask off. To protect myself, I make sure to use hand sanitizer, stay six feet away from others and I shower when I get home,” Broege said.

Certain workers, such as those in healthcare, have to go the extra mile of taking regular COVID-19 tests to ensure the safety of everyone.

 “At my job, we wash our hands very often and take a COVID test every week. They also give us the option to stay home if we don’t feel good because we don’t want to take any chances,” Arroyo said. 

One line of work that has been hit the hardest during the pandemic has been beauty or health workers. 

“I work as an esthetician with my own business, so health regulations have always been very strict for me. The sheets are always fresh and clean for every client that walks in. Everything has to be disinfected in the room, especially utilities. I use gloves when needed and wash my hands frequently. The tools I use are sterilized in a machine,” said small business owner, Beata Szul.

Due to the close proximity and contact between a client and employee, many workers like Szul have lost their jobs due to the pandemic or have lost a lot of their business. 

“I was shut down for a long period of time when COVID first hit America, and it’s still quite slow in terms of clients. I had to take classes through the esthetician board on strict rules we need to follow for reopening. I have to make sure my clients are spaced out so I have enough time to thoroughly clean and disinfect,” Szul said. “Before COVID, I used more natural cleaning products, but now everything is medical grade. I even have a medical-grade UV light I sterilize the room frequently with to clear the air of any bacteria that could have lingered. Of course, I wear a mask the entire time I’m with my clients.” 

As vaccines continue to roll out in America, the economy is starting to open up. While most people who work are facing very different conditions and will be for quite some time, there is hope coming with vaccinations.