Shepherdstown W.Va.,- While being labeled “essential,” workers are describing the conditions that COVID-19 has put them in. Tight restrictions, new policies and consistent daily work changes have left some employees feeling defeated during the virus.
In Petersburg, West Virginia, 7-Eleven employee Joy Smith communicates her experience from March to now. She states, “This virus has customers terrified to interact with us (the employees). We don’t see smiling faces anymore.”
Smith also reports that customers have been more difficult to accommodate. “We actually had to shut down our bathroom due to COVID-19”, Smith says, “The customers get angry and frustrated with us when we deny the bathroom to them, when in reality we are trying to protect them and keep them safe from spreading germs.”
The employees of 7-Eleven are still sanitizing their stores, hitting the deep surfaces of their gas pumps, counters and credit card machines to please their customers. Manager Amy Rush supplied the store with hand sanitizing stations for customer and employee convenience and safety.
“We have four hand sanitizing stations in the store”, Rush explains, “We know how important it is to keep our familiar faces safe.” She is reassuring her employees proper hand washing skills and food handling skills to keep customers pleased with their experience at the store during this time.
Rush said she is eager to find more ways to make the store a better working environment for those working there and who haven’t received any pandemic benefits.
Another employee, Samuel Ford, described his pandemic experience as “stressful”. Ford expresses his new daily work style saying jobs aren’t being treated fairly.
“We haven’t been paid extra since the pandemic started. We are still making the same wages, working the same hours for barely anything,” said Ford.
Ford discusses his concern for future plans if the virus continues. His concerns include how long the mask-wearing will continue, if there will be a cure, and how effective new sanitation will be for customers.
He wants to supply warm welcomes to the customers by providing fast and easy service that benefits everyone. The employees realize how frustrated the individuals may become.