Mikayla Walton, Contributing Writer
COVID-19 is a word you can clearly see anywhere now; it is everywhere. It has people afraid, annoyed, worried, and paranoid. There are people making their own cloth masks, and others buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer off the shelves as if it were Black Friday. People tend to think only of themselves in a crisis, but there are people we forget to ask ourselves about. The essential employees.
The essential employees have had a wrench tossed into their well-oiled machine. I, for one, wanted to know exactly what those still going to work are doing to protect themselves in these times, namely, what the companies are doing to protect their employees. I reached out to a few people, but I had only a few willing to discuss it. One of them, Brandon Hager, 16, of Granite City, IL, works for Weber Chevrolet, a car dealership.
“They have laid off non-essential employees so that they don’t have too many people in one area,” Brandon said. “People were only allowed to come in by appointment.”
The distancing rule is taking effect here to keep people six feet apart so it’s harder for the virus to spread. As for the hygiene aspect of this, Brandon let me know that all the cars are being heavily sanitized and disinfected when they come in for service. Delivery drivers are being used to transport parts and the workers are picking up and dropping off the cars that need to be serviced.
Now, that brings us to the next part. How are delivery drivers being kept safe during this pandemic? Luckily, I could reach out to my husband for comment. Matthew Walton, 26, of Granite City, IL, is a delivery driver for Speedee Delivery service. It’s located in Collinsville, IL, and delivers to areas around the Metro East in Illinois and Missouri. They have already announced they will not be closing because they are essential employees, but they’ve taken some measures.
They only allow four men in the office area at a time. The office area is where the drivers fill out their paperwork and clock in and out. As a former employee I can say that before this pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon to have as many as 12 people crammed into such a small area before as they all scrambled to finish their duties to go home, at least during my time there. Regarding other precautions being taken, Matthew commented, “They have also provided us gloves, and we have to deeply sanitize our vehicles and scanners every morning.”
So, if you know someone working as an essential employee, maybe reach out to them and give them a thank you. Whether they are working as medical staff, at a grocery store, doing car repairs, or delivering your packages, remember they have family they have to go home to as well, and they are doing their best in these crazy times.