Students at Work During the Pandemic

Serene Baddar, Staff Writer

     Since the first appearance of COVID-19 in the U.S., restaurants, clothing stores, and entertainment services have been closing one after another. As a result, many people lost their jobs, putting the unemployment rate of part-time workers at 24.5% in April of 2020 alone. Just over a year later, restaurants and retail stores have been opening up again, especially since the Coronavirus vaccine has been released for a few months now. Since most stores allow 16-year-old part-timers to work, how has the North Creek student body been handling this situation? 

     North Creek Sophomore Tony Fotos holds a part-time job at the Snohomish Taco Time. “It consists of normal fast food duties, cleaning, serving people, being nice, stuff like that,” said Fotos.

     While Fotos has only had this job for three weeks, he imagines it would have been more enjoyable in pre-COVID times. “I’m all about being personable with people, and I can’t do that as well because we all have our masks on. Hard to see a smile behind a piece of fabric, you know what I mean?” said Fotos.

     On the other hand, North Creek Junior Jessica Barranco who also works in fast food finds solace in her work. “It’s nice to have a job to get distracted from COVID,” said Barranco.

     In the midst of a global pandemic, cleanliness and health safety is a priority for most businesses. “We’re extremely hygienic and have our temperature checked every shift,” said Fotos.

    Due to their age, many student workers are ineligible for the vaccine; however, remain confident in their workplaces’ safety practices. “I’m right now 16, so I can’t get the vaccine sadly. But I also haven’t gotten the virus yet, so I’m not too worried,” said Fotos.

      Barranco shares equal faith in her employer’s and fellow employees’ efforts to keep themselves safe. “We are very cautious when it comes to sanitation,” said Barranco. Most restaurants and fast food joints are opening up again with caution, and in a safe and clean way, so that none of their employees or customers can catch the virus.