What it’s like working during the coronavirus pandemic


Rivas takes a break during his shift.

When coronavirus cases first started showing up in the area, I noticed the diminishing amount of customers and wondered if Starbucks would close down my store. On March 30, I was proven right when I was informed that my store was going to be closed.

However, I decided to write my name on a list that meant I was okay with working at another store with a drive thru in my district. I decided to do this because I knew I would make sure that I washed my hands before touching my face and wore gloves when touching money and cards.

“I decided not to work because even though Starbucks put these protocols in place, there is still exposure to the disease,” shift manager Omar Hemmings said. “I am just not willing to take this risk, especially since people at my house and even myself are at high risk.”

Starbucks is paying an extra three dollars for those still working. About 10 people on staff at my store felt more comfortable and safe at home, so they didn’t go to work and received catastrophic pay.

“I feel like Starbucks has done a really good job to those that have decided not to work,” Hemmings said. “It shows they are a company who will stick with their employees through thick and thin.”

My manager texted me for my address to see if there was a drive thru near me that did not have enough people on staff. A little after, I got a call from another manager asking for my availability and I was sent to the Barcroft Plaza. I worked there for a couple weeks and the line was never ending from when we opened right up until we closed.

My store is going to be opened again but only for mobile order. No one is allowed to enter under any circumstances and there are only about five people on the floor. I had never used the app to order ahead before but after helping people out, I have the hang of it.

During this time, Starbucks has been enforcing new policies we need to follow. We wear gloves and masks and wash our hands every 30 minutes. We also don’t take cash or cards from the customers. The latest policy is that on shift now we will have to self monitor our temperature.

“Leadership has communicated with transparency throughout all steps of this journey” Starbucks store manager Leah Martinez said.

We try giving out coffee to first responders, thanking them for all that they are doing during these hard times.

“Serving our community has created a confidence in Starbucks that will be difficult to waver,” Martinez said.

Finally, for me, managing work and school has been quite easy. These online classes are pretty simple and quick to do. If I ever get stuck, asking a peer for help is not much trouble.

Above all, safety is the most important thing during this time. If you believe your workplace is not keeping you safe, then say something. This precarious time will end quicker if we think of everyone and not just ourselves as we move forward.